Michael RothsteinESPN Staff Writer
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  • Previously covered University of Michigan for ESPN.com and AnnArbor.com
  • Also covered Notre Dame for Fort Wayne Journal Gazette

Jared Goff has known he would be part of the Detroit Lions for almost two months and on Friday, during his first news conference with his new team, the quarterback said being traded has left him with a little bit of extra motivation.

Goff was sent to Detroit by the Los Angeles Rams along with a third round pick in 2021 and first round picks in 2022 and 2023 for Matthew Stafford. And it was something he took personally.

“I think at first, absolutely. I think it builds that chip on your shoulder a little bit,” Goff said. “I won’t lie about that. There is that little extra motivation and chip that you do feel and again, I am so thankful for all my time there but yeah, you do feel that. You do feel a little bit of, ‘Hey, let’s see what we can do now.’ “

The 26-year-old Goff, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2016 draft by the Rams, had started all 69 games he appeared in for the Rams. He completed 63.4 percent of his passes for 18,171 yards, 107 touchdowns and 55 interceptions. He made two Pro Bowls and led the Rams to the Super Bowl following the 2018 season. And now he’s in Detroit less than three years after that.

It’ll be the first time Goff plays outside California having grown up in the state, playing at Cal and then being drafted by the Rams. He’s spent the past week in Detroit getting to know the city and called it eye-opening while being excited to get started in a new city.

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“It is a good change,” Goff said. “It’s something I’ve never knew I needed until now and you kind of come out here and you experience it and you mention being downtown, I went downtown for dinner twice this week and seeing, I didn’t know much about Detroit until recently and being down there and seeing the stadiums are all on the same block and everything is really close.

“It is a sports town and being able to play in a sports town is special. It’s something that I’m excited about. I know football is king here and I plan to make it a winner.”

Lions general manager Brad Holmes, who was part of the group that advocated selecting Goff for the Rams in 2016 as part of his old job as the Rams’ director of college scouting, said he felt good about trading for Goff and that the plan is for him to be the team’s starting quarterback.

He said that won’t necessarily change how Detroit views the No. 7 pick in the draft this spring — that you can’t ignore any position and if the value is there he would consider it. But he expects Goff to be the starter in the short-term at least.

“Part of the compensation that we received in the trade, I know a lot of people talk about the picks, but a lot of it was Jared, just the fact that being able to acquire Jared,” Holmes said. “That’s the part that sometimes gets kind of, not I want to say lost, but OK, the third round pick and two one’s, but to have Jared.

“His resume speaks for itself. He’s a proven winner. So for him to compete for the starting quarterback position and winning the starting quarterback position, you know, I definitely expect him to reclaim that status.”

Goff took that seriously, too. Like his head coach, Dan Campbell, and Holmes, Goff insisted the Lions are not a team rebuilding despite a purge of veterans from the team’s roster and the change at quarterback for the first time in a dozen years.

Instead, he seems himself as a player who can help the Lions immediately from a team that has had three straight losing seasons.

“The pieces are there,” Goff said. “I know you guys may want to say rebuild but to me it’s not a rebuild. I think the pieces are there and I think I’m a big part of that. You mentioned Jamaal [Williams], some of the pieces we’ve added, some of guys that are already here, the offensive line is obviously a strength.

“It’s all there. There’s still a lot of hard work to be done and that’s the challenge that I think is the most exciting is the hard work and how good it does feel to put that work in and come out the other side as a winner and to win games with a team that hasn’t done it in the past.”