Foster Sells Stafford on Lions

ATHENS – Former Georgia lineman George Foster suffered through the worst season in NFL history as a member of the Detroit Lions a year ago.

But that doesn't mean he didn't tout the benefits of playing in Detroit to Matthew Stafford when the two watched Georgia's practice together this week.

Foster is currently a free agent and doesn't expect to be playing in Detroit again next year, but he made sure Stafford was aware of the offensive fireworks that could be store for him should he team up with current Lions' wide receiver Calvin Johnson.

"I just told him that if he does go there, Calvin's going to be the best thing going for the next six or seven years in the NFL," Foster said. "It's going to be amazing to watch, that's my prediction. From what I've seen, there's nobody that's going to be able to cover him. (With Stafford) it could be a very productive combination."

Foster, a Macon native who played at Southeast High School before heading to Georgia in 1998, spent the past few days working out in Athens and hobnobbing with several of the Bulldogs' current crop of draft-eligible players. During Tuesday's opening day of spring practice, Foster watched from the sideline and chatted with Stafford, but said he didn't offer too much advice on the future.

"He went and visited up there, so he went and saw the facilities and all that," Foster said. "It's a nice place, they just have to get it together football-wise."

Football-wise, the Lions weren't just bad a year ago, they were historically awful, becoming the first team in NFL history to finish a season 0-16. For Foster, who started the first two games of the season before landing on the bench, it was a surreal experience.

"There's not really much you can say about it," said Foster, who was a member of Georgia's 2002 SEC championship team. "It was right there for everybody to see. The one positive is that the team held together pretty tight. There was no dissension within the team. They were just trying to get a win any way they could, but unfortunately it never came and now we're in the history books."

Despite the losing, Stafford said he would welcome a chance to play in Detroit in hopes of turning the franchise around.

"I'd love to go play anywhere they want me to play and try to make that team a winner," Stafford said. "I'm ready for any challenge."

Foster didn't sugar coat how big that challenge might be when he talked with Stafford this week, but he also reminded the quarterback that things can change pretty quickly in the NFL.

"I believe it goes in cycles, and it will eventually turn around," Foster said. "It seems like they're trying to take the right steps, but there just has to be a cohesiveness, not only within the team, but from top to bottom – everybody has to be on the same page and have one common goal. You would think that would be the norm for an organization, but that can be far from the truth."

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