'Country guy' Frank Ragnow played through fractured throat against Packers. And didn't miss a snap.


Pick an injury, any injury. Matthew Stafford has probably played through it.

But a fractured throat?

"Never heard of it," Stafford said Wednesday.

Wait. A fractured ... throat?? Yeah, that's what Lions center Frank Ragnow played through in Detroit's loss to the Packers last week, according to Ian Rapoport. And not just for a few snaps or a few series. Ragnow apparently suffered the injury in the first quarter and just kept on playing.

Even though he couldn't talk. Even though talking is an essential part of playing his position.

"He came up to me early in the game and was very hoarse and kind of faint-sounding and was like, 'I can’t really talk, just to let you know. Just make sure you’re communicating with everybody up front,' even more so than I normally would," Stafford said. "Kind of crazy, but it was good. Didn’t have any communication issues the rest of the game, really."

Or any issues at all. Ragnow played every snap, all 68 of them, for the 18th game in a row dating back to last season and didn't allow so much as a quarterback hurry. Against a defense that ranks among the NFL's top 10 in sacks.

A fractured throat, also known as a laryngeal fracture, is exceedingly rare, most often the result of 'significant high-velocity blunt trauma' in either auto accidents or sports, according to the US Library of Medicine. Swelling typically occurs within six hours of the trauma.

Within three hours of his trauma, Ragnow was still playing football. The only people on Detroit's sideline who knew what he was going through were those he needed to communicate with between drives. So, basically Stafford and backup QB Chase Daniel.

"Personally I had no idea," said running backs coach Kyle Caskey. "Honestly he looked like he was in the middle of a battle, one of those games where he was just beat up. I didn’t really notice it and honestly didn’t even know about it until Monday. So he did a good job of hiding it from us, at least, but he kept playing through it."

Because that's what Ragnow does. The Minnesota native likes to fish and play football. He doesn't like to complain. One time he fell through the ice on a frozen pond while shooting a video for his YouTube channel Grizzly Man Outdoors and didn't say much of anything other than, "My nuts are cold." Kind of sang it, actually.

"Y’all know he’s a country guy," said Caskey. "He’s not one to step away from any challenge. And if you go back and watch some of the plays, especially on pass downs, he takes some shots and he keeps going."

Caskey said he heard about Ragnow's toughness when the Lions drafted him 20th overall in 2018, back when Caskey was coaching for the Bengals. Then he saw it for himself when he arrived in Detroit the next season.

"When you finally see it, it is out there. He’s one of the tougher ones I‘ve been around," Caskey said.

Ragnow was unable to practice Wednesday. His status for Sunday's game against the Titans and the rest of the season is unclear. His breathing is fine and he's able to eat, according to the Free Press, but he's not supposed to talk until further notice. Which, again, makes playing center pretty difficult.

It's a difficult position to begin with, not that Ragnow has made it look that way since making the switch back from guard at the start of last season.

"He's played fantastic," Stafford said. "Ultra-physical in the run game. Does a really nice job in the pass game as well, just cleaning up a bunch of stuff. And when he gets one-on-one, he plays at a really high level.

"We're lucky to have him. He’s a young player that’s got a ton of talent, a ton of ability, the right head on his shoulders and works extremely hard and leads those guys really well. Love him as a teammate. Obviously, he’ll play through a bunch."