Tulloch ‘Most Comfortable’ In Schwartz’s Defense

The veteran linebacker officially signed with the Eagles.

Stephen Tulloch. (USA Today Sports)

Stephen Tulloch. (USA Today Sports)

After weeks of rumors and speculation, the Eagles officially signed veteran linebacker Stephen Tulloch to a one-year deal today. Tulloch, who practiced for the first time earlier this afternoon, picked Philadelphia over a couple of other teams, partially to reunite with Jim Schwartz.

“I feel most comfortable with this defense,” Tulloch said. “Teryl Austin’s defense in Detroit, [a] very good defense, [was] something I was getting used to going into my second year there. But obviously, I played in this defense for about six, seven years and numerous games, numerous playoff games, battling back down to the Colts many years in the AFC South, so we’ve been through it. Some tweaks have been made along the way through his time in Buffalo coming here, but it’s pretty much the same defense.”

Tulloch received a call from Schwartz after the Steelers preseason game last Thursday, and playing under his former head coach and defensive coordinator will ease his transition to the Eagles.

“I got a lot of love and respect for Coach Schwartz,” he said. “I always thank him for what opportunity I had in Tennessee, for having him draft me, or push to draft me, back in 2006 when nobody else really wanted to go after me. When he called me, I wanted to come here and help build this team.”

From the time he was notified of his release from the Lions in February until this week, Tulloch had been training back at his home in Miami getting ready for the season. He also underwent minor surgery for a bone spur in his ankle, but he now feels good.

He currently says he’s unsure of his role, whether it might be as a starter or as a backup, but all he wants to do is play football and have an impact on the Eagles, notably on the younger guys.

“I know that it’s a good group of players on this team, and the linebacker room especially,” Tulloch said. “I didn’t ask coach when I first came what role I was gonna play, I told coach ’Whatever you need me to do, I’ll do. I’ll come in here and I’ll continue what we did in our past history together playing ball.’ I know what he does, I know what he expects out of his players, and if I can help out the younger guys get better, then I’ll do that.

“I’ll compete everyday, I’m gonna go out there everyday, I’m gonna work hard, and I’ll let coaches do what they do and management take care of their business. But I just come here to whatever’s asked of me to do, I’m gonna do it. And that’s what they’re gonna expect out of me.”

After missing most of the 2014 season with a torn ACL celebrating a sack, it took Tulloch some time for his body to get back to form, and he got better as the season progressed.

“It was something that I definitely wasn’t used to,” Tulloch said. “I think as the season went on, I got better at it. My body felt great, about midseason, I could say, it was a different role for me. Something that I embraced and I was able to pass my wisdom on to younger guys when I was out. Now that I’m back healthy and I feel good, I have a lot of football left in me.”