LIONS INSIDER

Stephen Tulloch on Nick Fairley: "He's slim, he's focused and he's about his business"

Posted Apr 18, 2013

With the Lions' offseason training program underway, linebacker Stephen Tulloch says defensive tackle Nick Fairley is focused on the ultimate prize

During the NFL league Meetings in Phoenix last month, Detroit Lions head coach Jim Schwartz was asked about defensive tackle Nick Fairley and what he expected to see from his talented third-year player this upcoming season.

"Nick needs to be on the field for us," he said. "We need to get him to the point where he can play 16 (games) for us the way he plays eight for us every year.

"He's an impact player. I think that you saw all the reasons that we drafted him. The tackles for losses, affecting the passing game, sacks, chase plays. He's really a fast guy, he can chase down screens, he can do all those things. So it's been more (about) availability for him."

Fairley is among the Lions who began the offseason training program this week in Allen Park and he's already made an impression on at least one teammate.

"I think Nick Fairley is at that stage when he won a National Championship (at Auburn)," linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. "He just comes to work and talks about it every day."

Nick FairleyDT Nick Fairley

Tulloch shared a conversation he had with Fairley earlier in the week that he said impressed him.

"I said, "Nick, you going to Hawaii (Pro Bowl) this year?'" Tulloch said. "He said, ‘No, Tully, I'm going to New York (Super Bowl host).'

"That's his mind frame. He's a heck of a player. He's a Pro Bowl/All Pro type of player, and if he can stay healthy and keep working the way he is now, he's going to be a force to be reckoned with."

Lions fans have seen the type of dominance from Fairley that Tulloch is describing – in stretches.

Last year, over a five-game span that began Nov. 11 at Minnesota and ended when he suffered the shoulder injury at Green Bay, Fairley had four sacks, two forced fumbles and 23 tackles.

But he's missed nine games his first two seasons because of foot and shoulder injuries and has been less than 100 percent in countless other games.

Tulloch says Fairley has come to work in shape and focused this offseason and told media members that 2013 could be a breakout year for Fairley playing alongside Ndamukong Suh.

"He's slim, he's focused and he's about his business," Tulloch said. "That's what you want to see out of a player going into his third year."