LIONS INSIDER

Tulloch ready to resume on-field leadership role

Posted May 26, 2015

Linebacker Stephen Tulloch is ready to resume his role as the leader in the middle of Teryl Austin’s defense.

Stephen Tulloch felt like just one the guys Tuesday.

It’s a feeling he’s been waiting eight long months for after tearing the ACL in his left knee Week 3 of last season.

Tulloch was back on the field with his teammates for the start of Phase three of the offseason training program and the start of OTAs Tuesday in Allen Park.

Stephen TullochLB Stephen Tulloch (Photo: Detroit Lions)

“It feels good,” Tulloch told detroitlions.com after Tuesday’s practice. “I’m able to run around without even thinking about it; cut, jump and do everything.

“It’s been eight months. I had my surgery Oct. 1. At first when an injury happens you question yourself. To know you’re back and know training camp is three months away and you have even more time for the knee to get stronger before the season starts, I’m in a great place.”

Tulloch said he felt great at practice and doesn’t have any limitations when it comes to his knee.

“I’m doing everything,” he said. “I’m able to run around and make calls and make checks and get back to being a middle linebacker.”

Tulloch was having a terrific start to the 2014 campaign before injuring his knee, which was the first major injury of his nine-year career. The fact that he was having a terrific start and was then relegated to spectator was tough for him to handle.

“You can still be a leader (when you're hurt), but you’re not that voice on the field,” he said. “You can't get guys’ minds right. Change of possession being able to go out there and say, ‘don’t worry about it, let’s go.’

“You have to be out there to feel the energy. You can come on the sideline and give some pointers, but guys are so focused in to the game that they hear what you’re saying but they’re not taking it all in.”

Tulloch was heard loud and clear Tuesday and says he’s ready to resume his role as the leader in the middle of Teryl Austin’s defense.

“To be back out there to make calls and make checks and make alerts and go out there and let guys know how important this next down is or what to expect from different routes and different plays, it’s a different feeling, and that’s where your voice is really heard,” Tulloch said.

“This scheme is so unique that everybody has a role in it and they’re going to fit to your strengths. I’m great at blitzing and getting after it with my instincts sideline to sideline and they put me in position to succeed.”

This is Tulloch's 10th go around at offseason OTA practices, but today will always be special for him.

“I can finally close the chapter on the 2014 season,” he said.