There is room for sentiment in the NFL. Not as much in the AFC South blog.
I generally try to steer clear of the predictable storyline about a guy playing against his old team. But on occasion it does qualify as a big deal. Keith Bulluck was drafted by the Titans in 2000 and over 10 years became wildly popular with his coaches, Titans fans and Nashville media, including yours truly.
Pick one name and one face for the Tennessee defense since the franchise’s 1999 conversion into the Titans, and he’s it.
Sunday, he will line up against the Titans as a member of the New York Giants, though we don’t know for sure what his role will be. I expect way less nickel and dime than New York played against Indy, which should mean much more Bulluck.
He said his reconstructed knee feels great and he’s determined to continue to earn a big role for the Giants.
Tony Brown and Stephen Tulloch both said Bulluck was an irreplaceable invaluable leader for the Titans who helped them a great deal when they arrived in Tennessee, and they are trying to meet his standards for production.
I had the good fortune of reconnecting with Bulluck Sunday night at Lucas Oil Stadium after the Colts beat the Giants.
Here are the on-the-record highlights of that conversation:
Are you missing anything about Nashville?
"I miss the fans. I miss my house. I miss my friends, mostly. But all that stuff, after the season, I can get right back in touch with it. I still have my house there. I haven’t even thought about selling it yet. I put a lot of time into it, so I need to get some time out of it. Nashville is a great spot. Have a townhouse here. That was a bachelor pad for a while in Nashville, but now it’s a house. So it’s kind of weird. I went from 7,000 square feet to 2,200 square feet in New Jersey. It’s like 15 minutes from work, just like Brentwood. Same commute."
What will this game be like for you?
"It’s going to be great. I’m going to have fun. I’m going to have a great time. We just came off this not so good loss, so we’re all going to be amped up for next week… I don’t really think about those guys. I always check the score, just to see win-loss, but I know they’re going to be alright with the work they put in in the offseason and with the approach they’ve always had down there. I know Tully [Tulloch] is playing well, he’s captain and he deserves it. I saw them in the preseason against Carolina because we played them and in the game that was on TV, Arizona. He’s running around playing well. I keep my ears to the street."
Do you worry for Vince Young that he’s still not established as the unquestioned guy there?
"I just worry for him that they’re not going to let him get settled. You take him out Sunday? I don’t know. That’s their problem. We could definitely have a conversation about that."
What are you looking forward to the most about this game?
"Playing against the best running back in the league. I’ve always prided myself on getting the opportunity to play against the best players. I’ve had a chance to play against Adrian Peterson, I played against Emmitt Smith. CJ is the best running back in the league. I’m definitely looking forward to that opportunity. I’m glad Pittsburgh broke his streak of 100 yard games or we would have had to do it."