ALLEN PARK >> If a rookie can learn from one of the best, just make it happen.
The Lions have invited former linebacker Stephen Tulloch back to talk to the rookies including Jarrad Davis the first-round pick who is expected to start at middle linebacker.
“He’s played a lot of football and made a lot of big plays in this league and to be able to come in and talk to a guy like Jarrad (and for Jarrad) to be able to talk to Tully and get knowledge from him, I believe that will be huge for him. It’s one thing for me to talk to him, it’s another thing for him to talk to Stephen,’’ linebacker Tahir Whitehead said.
Coach Jim Caldwell said it’s not unusual to bring guys back to help out.
“Tully is one of the guys that have been taught by Bill (Sheridan, linebackers coach) within the system, so he knows that. He was going to be in town, so we invited him to come on out. So, he’ll be here and he’ll be at practice and be around a little bit,’’ Caldwell said.
Tulloch, who played 11 NFL seasons — five of them with the Lions (2011-2015), can also help with off-the-field matters. He didn’t miss a game due to injury in his first eight NFL seasons.
“I think more so than anything else, the young guys could certainly learn something from the way in which he handled himself on and off the field, and then also how he took care of his body,’’ Caldwell said. “I think he was without question one of those guys that did a tremendous job.’’
Tulloch’s exit from the Detroit Lions was a bit odd and ongoing following the 2015 season. He finally was cut loose and signed with the Philadelphia Eagles.
But all was apparently well in April when Tulloch returned to the Lions’ facility to announce his retirement (see photo).
On Tuesday morning, Whitehead said he had not seen Tulloch yet.
“I can’t wait to catch up with my guy, that’s my big brothe. I’m looking forward to seeing him,’’ Whitehead said.
Tulloch was at least partially responsible for helping Whitehead develop into an NFL starting linebacker.
“Tully’s great. Any time you can bring a guy back who’s played a lot of football for you he gives a unique insight to the young guys and the guys in that room,’’ defensive coordinator Teryl Austin said. “All of a sudden he goes from being in that room, now he’s out of it looking from the outside in. I think that helps with the perspective.’’