Keith Bulluck didn’t always get the attention, used more for his coverage and tackling talents than for rushing the quarterback.
The linebacker made one Pro Bowl and one All-Pro team in 11 NFL seasons, the first 10 with the smaller-market Tennessee Titans. Bulluck officially retired as a Titan.
“You play this game and everybody wants to play to win a Super Bowl. I never got that chance, but there’s no love lost for this game whatsoever,” Bulluck said. “There’s great players that played this game and never played in or for a Super Bowl. I’m happy at about that point in my life. I have had the chance to make an excellent amount of cash and provide for my family. And now I get to walk away as a Titan. I have always loved being a Titan.”
Bulluck arrived in Tennessee as a 1st-round choice in 2000, a year since the Titans’ only Super Bowl appearance, and he last played during the 2010 season with the N.Y Giants, one year before they won the Super Bowl. He sat out last season after the lockout.
As a Titan, Bulluck was a 3-down player who wasn’t typically used as a rush expert the way many 3-4 linebackers are. Instead, he was counted on to cover tight ends in the passing game and be a sure tackler who could create turnovers.
Bulluck recorded 100-plus tackles in 8 straight seasons, had 21 career interceptions, forced 14 fumbles and had 11 fumble recoveries. Bulluck also had 6 defensive and special teams touchdowns in his career.
“He was so athletic and with the long arms, he just gives people trouble,” declared Titans coach Mike Munchak, who was the team’s offensive line coach when Bulluck was with the team. “He’s a smart football player and we made use of that. Our defensive coordinators did a great job of exploiting his abilities. Scores
“The guy stayed on the field every snap. He was not a guy that was a 2-down linebacker. I believe that’s something that gets overlooked. He made the Pro Bowl, was an All-Pro, and doubtless not as many years as he should have, because he did what the team needed of him. He wasn’t asked to blitz as much as other linebackers were who got credit for sacks. But he was as good as anybody in football during his ten years here with the Titans.”
During his 10 years with the Titans, Bulluck played in 135 consecutive games, with 127 straight starts before a torn ACL in December 2009 stopped his streak and eventually his tenure in Tennessee.
“I’d just love to be remembered as an all-around great linebacker. I do not get looked at like some of those other players in other cities,” Bulluck recounted. “The time I spent with the New York Giants, I definitely looked in their record books, and they absolutely have great linebackers. But if I had played there my full career: Oooh!
“It’s all great. I loved being in Tennessee. I think it keeps you grounded. If you play here in Nashville, I think you have got to be appreciative. You don’t have the big media outlets. You don’t have all of the state attention, but you go out and earn it and it makes you a better person and a better player.”