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Lions QB Stafford enjoys having input into offseason moves

ALLEN PARK, Mich. -- Every NFL quarterback would like his team to add more offensive weapons.

Matthew Stafford is doing something about it.

Even though Stafford has only played part of one season, he's already consulting with general manager Martin Mayhew and the rest of the Detroit Lions' front office about player moves.

"It's fun to be able to help," Stafford said Tuesday. "They know that I know all the players out there, so they've been asking how I think guys will fit in."

Stafford's biggest contribution might have come at the very beginning of the free-agent period last week. As soon as the market officially opened, Stafford was on the phone with Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Nate Burleson, who had played for Lions offensive coordinator Scott Linehan in Minnesota.

The move worked, as Burleson quickly agreed to terms with the Lions. Stafford wasn't taking all of the credit.

"To be honest, I'm not sure our conversation had a lot to do with his decision," Stafford said with a laugh. "He was telling me that he was really looking forward to coming to Detroit if all of the contract stuff could be figured out, so I think his mind was pretty much made up. We talked a lot about what a great guy coach Linehan is, and I think that's the reason he's coming."

Either way, Stafford is happy to have a proven second option at receiver to line up alongside Calvin Johnson.

"I've watched a lot of Nate's games, and he's going to be great in the slot or out wide -- wherever we need him," he said. "I haven't talked to Calvin about it yet, but I'm sure he's just as excited about having someone to help open things up."

Stafford also is happy to provide Mayhew with his opinion about the crop of running backs in next month's draft. With Kevin Smith returning from a severe knee injury, the Lions need to find a starter in free agency or the draft.

"I know a lot of the running backs that are coming out this year, so I'll give them any advice if they ask," Stafford said. "I'm not going to make any draft picks, though. That job is way too hard -- I'll leave it to the experts."

Stafford sported a wrap on his knee while meeting with the media, but he said that he's recovering well from the shoulder and knee injuries that limited him to 10 games last season.

"I threw at full strength today -- I've been doing that a little at a time to make sure I was ready to get things going, and it feels good now," Stafford said. "I'm not at full running speed yet, but I think I will be in time for mini-camp."

If Stafford does have more injury problems, he'll be replaced by Shaun Hill, whom the Lionsacquired in a trade with the San Francisco 49ers announced on Monday. Detroit gave up a 2011 draft pick for the nine-year veteran, who also played for Linehan in Minnesota.

"I'm excited to have Shaun here, because he was good when he started for the 49ers and he's a very intelligent quarterback that knows our system," Stafford said. "He'll be great to have around."

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press

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