Tulloch humbled to be voted team captain by peers

Posted Sep 4, 2012

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch has been a team captain before, named a defensive captain in 2010 while with the Tennessee Titans.

He signed with the Lions prior to the 2011 season, hitting the free agent market after leading the team with 111 tackles and adding a career-best two interceptions, three sacks and a fumble recovery for a touchdown.

The Lions recognized Tulloch’s value when they re-signed him to a five-year deal March 20.

Now it is his teammates’ turn.

Tulloch was voted a first-time Lions team captain, announced Tuesday by the team.

“It’s very humbling,” said Tulloch. “Obviously you put a lot of hard work in. Throughout my career, coming in as a fourth-round draft pick and having to work to become a starter.

“I know hard work pays off and guys recognize that I put the work and time and effort in to help my team and to become a better player.

“For them to vote me captain is an unbelievable feeling.”

Tulloch is one of six team captains for the Lions.

Also voted captains for 2012: kicker Jason Hanson, wide receiver Calvin Johnson, quarterback Matthew Stafford, defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch and safety John Wendling.

For Tulloch, being named one of six team captains is surreal.

Playing football for 22 years – since he was five years old – Tulloch has always been told he wouldn’t succeed at the sport due to his 5-11 stature.

He takes pride in having proven his critics wrong and for being recognized by his teammates for the leadership he naturally displays on and off the field.

“I never want to feel like I’m above anybody,” he said. “Sometimes I’m in the middle of the line, I don’t want anybody to feel like I’m just trying to be that guy to stand out.”

Tulloch isn’t quite sure what new responsibilities he will take on now that he is a team captain.

He asked his mom yesterday what she thought.

“She’s like, ‘Stay humble, keep working hard, don’t change,’” Said Tulloch. “That stuff’s all I know how to do: just work hard, stay humble.

“I know the guys will give me a lot of grief for it – I know how they are – cracking jokes about me being a captain, but I’m just going to continue to work hard and do the best I can to help this organization – this team – become something to be reckoned with in the NFL.

“I love it here; I love all the staff, the fans, the players. Everything here is a first-class organization. Just coming to work every day is fun and to know that I’m a captain of this team makes it that much better.”