Thursday, May 27, 2010
Keith Bulluck: Old, injured and valuable?
By Kevin Seifert
Many of you have been asking if the Detroit Lions will pursue free-agent linebacker Keith Bulluck, who played for Lions coach Jim Schwartz in Tennessee but is recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Reporters asked Schwartz about it Thursday, and here's what Schwartz said (via Nicholas J. Cotsonika of the Detroit Free Press):
"I think that he's a guy, among others, that we've had our eye on. It just throws a little bit of a monkey wrench into it for him because he's coming off an ACL. But he's a quality player that's played for a long time in the NFL, and when he's available, I'm sure there will be a lot of teams that will be interested in him."
Bulluck is about a month away from being healthy enough to work out for teams. You would imagine the Titans will be in the mix, but the Lions could have a tailor-made starting job available for him after trading weakside linebacker Ernie Sims.
During organized team activities, second-year player Zack Follett has been working in that spot. But if that remains the case, the Lions will have untested starters at two of their three linebacker positions in 2010. (Middle linebacker DeAndre Levy started 10 games on the weak side last year.)
I'm not sure if this is a fair way to look at it, but here's my take: Bulluck is 33, has played 10 years as an NFL linebacker and is coming off a serious knee injury. I wouldn't consider him an ideal candidate for a team building from the bottom up, one that was among the league's most injured last year and is already nursing three players back from late-season ACL injuries.
Of course, that thought process might require adjustment if it becomes clear during OTAs that Follett can't handle the job. The Lions know all about the dangers of entering games short-handed from a personnel standpoint. But given Bulluck's situation, I'm not sure the Lions should be knocking his door down the moment he is ready to start working out.