Maybe now the talk about tight end Tony Scheffler’s future can stop.

Scheffler entering his eighth NFL season has been the subject of endless speculation about whether he’ll survive his fourth training camp with the Detroit Lions.

He caught 42 passes in 15 games last year the third-most of his career but some wonder whether his salary ($1.95 million) and the arrival of undrafted free agent Joseph Fauria could signal the end of his time in Detroit.

Asked about Scheffler’s role on the team at his training camp-preview news conference Thursday Lions coach Jim Schwartz gave the Chelsea native and Western Michigan alumnus an unsurprising vote of confidence.

“Tony’s an important part of our offense” Schwartz said. “He’s a matchup problem for defenses as a tight end. And he’s a playmaker particularly around the end zone. I think that when our offense runs at full effectiveness Tony’s a big part of that.”

Scheffler has carved out a nice role for the Lions as a slot-receiving threat in the red zone the last three years.

He had six touchdowns in 2011 though just one last year.