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We finally know why it took so long to release Stephen Tulloch

Lions beat writer Dave Birkett sheds light on the situation.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

I don't think I expected to be alive to see this situation, but Stephen Tulloch has finally been released by the Detroit Lions. This comes five months after his farewell on Instagram; four months after it was certain, absolutely certain, that the Lions would cut him before the new NFL calendar began and he was owed his bonus. After that point everything was lost in limbo and Lions lips got quiet. Even now, the Lions have not released an official explanation for the holdup.

But with Tuesday's news, Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press helped to shed some light on the situation on Twitter. We have combined his tweets for the full story for you:

The full story with Stephen Tulloch: He had off-season surgery, didn't pass a physical until today, which is why Lions waited to release him. Had the Lions cut Tulloch earlier this off-season, they would have been on the hook for a bigger cap charge.

According to Josh Katzenstein of the Detroit News, the surgery in question was arthroscopic ankle surgery.

In the NFL, it is not possible to cut a player who has not passed a physical without an injury settlement. This is the apparent cause of a nearly five month delay: it took until Tuesday for Tulloch to finally pass a physical, which now permits the Lions to release him sans settlement.

There's no evidence that Tulloch has or has not had prior physicals, although if the settlement was the concern it's probable that there's been a few in the past months.

What is odd about this whole news is that up to this point, Tulloch has denied having injury issues. Just a month ago Dave Birkett spoke with Tulloch and reported the following:

Although there's no official explanation to back up Birkett's sources, it's probably one of the more logical explanations as to why the Lions would eat a roster bonus owed to Tulloch and continue to drag on the matter for months, all while intimating that they intended to release him.

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