'China doll' Matthew Stafford takes on friendly fire

Jay Cutler has been taking fire from fellow NFL players after he was pulled from Sunday’s loss in the NFC Championship Game with a sprained left knee.

Matthew Stafford is taking friendly fire.

While Cutler’s Chicago Bears teammates have rallied behind him, Stafford took a shot from Lions linebacker Zack Follett. On a radio interview with 1430-AM in Fresno, Calif., Follett called Stafford a “china doll,” according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press.

Oops.

There’s no debating Stafford is brittle after his second season in the NFL. The No. 1 overall pick in 2009 has missed 19 games, and last week he underwent surgery on his right shoulder that will have him on the shelf for four months or so. Follett said what everyone is thinking, but he’s a teammate.

“Stafford, good guy,” Follett said. “He’s a china doll right now. Anytime he gets hit, he goes down. But the kid is -- hopefully, it’s just patiently waiting for him, because the kid is an awesome talent. He has a tremendous arm. The throws that he makes during practice when no one can touch him, he looks like an All-American quarterback, but put him in a game, and you hit his shoulder. So hopefully, say a couple prayers, keep him healthy next year, and the Lions can do some damage in the NFC.”

That’s not good form for a teammate. We’ll see how this shakes out for Follett. The Lions are getting better and they don’t have room for players questioning the one player that is the key to the franchise taking the next step.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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