Tulloch returns bearing no ill will toward Lions

James Hawkins
The Detroit News
Linebacker Stephen Tulloch was signed by the Eagles, who play the Lions this Sunday at Ford Field.

Allen Park — For Eagles linebacker Stephen Tulloch, there’s no hard feelings or animosity.

After being released in the offseason for the first time in his career, the 11-year veteran will return to Ford Field Sunday as a visitor after spending the past five seasons in Detroit.

“It’s just a part of the business I’ve never really been a part of,” Tulloch said Wednesday. “Obviously, they had a clause in the contract saying that I can’t be released based on this and that and I just wanted to play football. I just wanted to get back out there and do my thing again.

“Like I said, I felt like my career would end in Detroit and I’d be able to play my last year there, but all players that play a long time in this league, we all hope to end our careers where we started and that’s unfortunate I wasn’t able to, but I’m glad to have the opportunity to come to Philly. The fans welcomed me here, the organization welcomed me here and things are going good.”

Tulloch started 66 of his 67 games played in Detroit and recorded at least 100 tackles four of the five years, with the exception of 2014 when he tore his ACL in Week 3 after celebrating a sack.

In Philadelphia, Tulloch has been limited to a reserve role, playing 24 defensive snaps and recording five tackles in three games. He’s also been reunited with former Lions coach Jim Schwartz, who serves as the Eagles defensive coordinator and coached Tulloch for three seasons in Detroit.

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“It’s cool how things come full circle. It’s crazy how it works, to be honest,” Tulloch said. “To be 21 years old and get drafted by the Titans, mainly because a particular guy stuck his neck out for you come draft day in Schwartz, to finally go to Tennessee and become a starter, be a free agent and go to Detroit with a guy who went to bat with you and then obviously Detroit releasing me and coming to Philly, it’s a lot of respect.

“Not only to him as a person, but him as a coach and what he expects and what he knows I can bring to the table to help this team. It’s good to be back with him and to understand what he wants out of his defense.”

Tulloch said he regularly keeps in touch with several of his former teammates, including linebackers DeAndre Levy, Tahir Whitehead and Kyle Van Noy, and has “got a lot of love and respect” for Lions coach Jim Caldwell and the rest of the team.

He added he will be rooting for the Lions to turn things around following their 1-3 start — just not this week.

“I consider Detroit as a second home,” Tulloch said. “It’ll be good to get back there and see the guys and be able to catch up with them and run around and have some fun.”


Twitter: @jamesbhawkins