Stephen Tulloch comes in at No. 63 on NFL Top 100 Players list

Posted May 16, 2013

Stephen Tulloch is humbled to join teammate Matthew Stafford on the NFL Network's Top 100 players list, coming in at No. 63

Add linebacker Stephen Tulloch to the list of Lions players who are considered among the top 100 in the NFL by their peers.
Stephen TullochLB Stephen Tulloch

Tulloch checks in at No. 63 on the NFL Network's Top 100 Players list. This is the third year current NFL players have voted to determine the top 100 players in the league.

"Players vote you on this list," said Tulloch. "To have the respect of my peers in the NFL looking at me as a player to be on such a list like is humble for me because I'll never forget where I started and how the odds were always against me.

"It's just cool to be on the list. I don't care if it was 100, just to be on the list is good."

Tulloch, who hasn't missed a game in his seven-year career, recorded his fourth-consecutive 100-tackle season in 2012.  He's durable, he's dependable and his peers have taken notice.

"Players know what we go through and what it takes to go through a day-to-day process of being a professional football player as far as taking care of your body. In my instance, never missing a game and what you have to do to stay at a high level," he said.

"You know sometimes you're beat up and banged up and you have to find a way to dig deep and go out there and perform week-in and week-out. It's different from an evaluator, who sits back and is just watching the game as a fan to be like, 'Oh yeah, put him, him and him on that list,' not knowing what it takes to go through to be out there, be healthy, to be productive each and every week.

"I think players can relate to that and understand the grind and the grittiness of it and the fans can sit back and critique. 'Oh yeah, why didn't he make that tackle?' not knowing that your outside help didn't help you out."

Tulloch says it's been quite the journey to go from an undersized fourth-round draft pick out of North Carolina State to being considered one of the best at his craft.

He left school early to enter the NFL. He was drafted by the Tennessee Titans – and then-defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz -- in the fourth round in 2006. He began as a special teams player, and though he played in all 32 regular season games his first two seasons, made only four starts.

"My whole journey getting to this point in my career, I never really looked at accolades," Tulloch said. "Just always tried to get better every year in what I did and prolong my career and be a professional on and off the field."

It's a good week for Tulloch, who is also being honored Friday in Novi at the Gridiron Greats Hall of Fame Dinner as the recipient of the Detroit Lions' 2012 Ron Kramer Award as the team's unsung hero.

Quarterback Matthew Stafford was named the 76th-best player on the Top 100 list last week. It's expected that defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and receiver Calvin Johnson will also find themselves on the list at some point.