After 11 successful seasons in the NFL, former Detroit Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch is calling it a career. The Lions announced on Tuesday afternoon that the veteran linebacker will declare his retirement during a press conference at Detroit’s practice facility.
Tulloch spent five years in Detroit, leading the team in tackles during four of those seasons. He was instrumental in building a respectable defense for Detroit during the Jim Schwartz era, but ironically was absent during the team’s most impressive year defensively in 2014. It was then that Tulloch’s Iron Man streak of 130 consecutive games played came to an end because of a now infamous celebration that ended in a torn ACL.
Tulloch’s decision to retire in Detroit comes as a bit of a surprise. Though he played arguably his best seasons as a Lion, it was not the team that drafted him (Titans) nor the team he finished his career with (Eagles). Additionally, the end of Tulloch’s career in Detroit got a little messy last offseason when the team let him know in February they were going to release him, but didn’t officially do so until July. Tulloch’s decision to retire in Detroit suggests the ugliness of this release was overblown and has long since been forgiven.
Still, it’ll be a bit strange to see Tulloch retire in a room (presumably) without Jim Schwartz. Schwartz was the defensive coordinator when Tulloch was drafted to the Tennessee Titans. He was instrumental in bringing Tulloch to Detroit in 2011. And after dealing with the strung-out release, Schwartz took a chance on Tulloch last year, by bringing him to the Eagles.
While in Detroit, Tulloch was not only known for his reliable tackling but his off-the-field generosity. He created the Stephen Tulloch Foundation in 2009, which continues to provide special opportunities to underprivileged youth. After the 2012 season, the Lions named Tulloch the Robert Porcher Man of the Year, and he was nominated as the league-wide Man of the Year award in 2015.
We wish Tulloch a happy retirement and thank him for 11 impressive seasons in the NFL.