Tulloch grew up in a single-parent home in Miami, Florida with his two siblings. The current Lions linebacker credits his mother’s ability to provide for her children as a nurse, still be a mentor to them and then find time to give back to the community, as having a profound impact on who he’s become.
“I don’t know how she did it,” Tulloch said during his acceptance speech.
His mother was the inspiration for him founding the Stephen Tulloch Foundation in 2009, which helps underprivileged youth with opportunities to be successful.
The foundation helps kids with dental care, promotes educational projects at the Jalen Rose Leadership Academy and partners with Angels of Hope to provide a Christmas for families affected by cancer.
“As a kid, I dreamed of moments like this,” Tulloch said. “To me, football was always my life. It was everything. To see my mom work hard to give back and donate and everything, it rubbed off on me to give back and treat people with respect. You’re blessed by what you do for people and I’ve been blessed.”
It was a good week for Tulloch both on and off the field. First, he was recognized as one of the top 100 players in the league (No. 63) by the NFL Network Thursday after a 112-tackle performance in 2012. Then, one day later, honored for the contributions he makes to the community off the field.
Tulloch was among a number of current and former Lions who were honored by the Gridiron Greats, which was formed in 2007 to help former players and their families who have been impacted by their playing days in the NFL and as a result fallen on hard times.
Linebacker Chris Spielman, quarterback Greg Landry and linebacker Roger Zatkoff were inducted into the Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame.
“What you give will grow and what you keep you will lose,” said Spielman, quoting a former coach of his. “So, on behalf of the former players, I hope we all continue to give so we’ll grow.”
Also honored was current Detroit Lions Director of Sporting Events, Dan Jaroshewich, and former Lions offensive lineman Ken Dallafior with the Tim Pendell Community Service Award.
Both Jaroshewich and Dallafior co-founded the Detroit Lions Courage House at the Haven in Pontiac, a house for battered and abused women and children.