Lost in the busy day at the Detroit Lions facility on Thursday was Stephen Tulloch’s tearful retirement announcement. The former Lions linebacker spent just over 10 minutes thanking the city of Detroit and the Lions organization for five tremendous seasons. Glover Quin, Bob Quinn and Jim Caldwell watched as the now-retired Tulloch held back tears expressing his gratitude for everyone who helped him among the way.
No one received more praise than the Lions’ organization. “I think it says a lot about Tully that he wanted to make this announcement back here in Detroit,” Caldwell said in his brief introduction.
After the introduction, Tulloch had to take a minute to gather his thoughts. “Wow. This is—I told myself I wasn’t going to tear up,” Tulloch said before shaking his head in disbelief for several seconds. “To come here as a free agent in 2011, it was one of the best decisions I ever made in my life,” Tulloch said, unable to hold back tears at this point.
“I love Detroit a lot,” Tulloch continued. “Not just the organization, but the entire community.” Tulloch didn’t need to say these words, because his actions spoke louder. Throughout his time as a Detroit Lion, Tulloch exemplified what it meant to be a leader off the field. Through his Stephen Tulloch Foundation, which aims to provide unique opportunities for underprivileged children, Tulloch earned the respect of his peers. The team named him the Robert Porcher Man of the Year in 2013.
Though Tulloch’s time in the NFL is over, his humanitarian efforts are anything but done. Tulloch said he will immediately be joining Marshawn Lynch and former Lion Cliff Avril in Haiti to help build schools and homes.
“It’s not all about the accolades and your statistics, it’s about the impact you have on people’s lives,” Tulloch said.
As for his favorite memory in Detroit, Tulloch points to the moment the Lions finally clinched their first playoff game in over 10 years. “To be able to walk around Ford Field and see the fans excited [...] that meant a lot to me,” Tulloch said. “The people of Detroit, man, they’re first class people.”
Right back at you, Tulloch. Enjoy retirement.