Former Tennessee Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck officially announced his retirement from the NFL on August 3, 2012. Bulluck will formally submit his retirement papers to the NFL on August 4. The announcement was made at Baptist Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee.
The Titans drafted Bulluck out of Syracuse University with the 30th-overall pick in the 2000 NFL Draft. Bulluck enjoyed an 11-year career that included a 10-year stint with the Titans from 2000 through 2009. He played with the New York Giants in 2010. He didn't play during 2011. Bulluck had previously told Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean in January 2012 that he had no plans for resuming his career after one year off.
Bulluck finished his career with 1,088 tackles. He also had 70 pass deflections, 21 interceptions, 18 sacks, 15 forced fumbles and 13 fumble recoveries. During an era where most linebackers have shifted their focus toward pass-rushing, Bulluck was one of the premiere pass-coverage linebackers of the 2000s. Bulluck made one Pro Bowl team during his career. He would've qualified for more had he played in a bigger market.
Bulluck never played in a Super Bowl. Ironically, the Titans drafted him fewer than three months after they were defeated by the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV. The Giants also won their second Super Bowl in five seasons just one year after they didn't re-sign Bulluck during the 2011 offseason. Bulluck played with two Titans teams who were upset by the Baltimore Ravens during the AFC Divisional playoffs in 2001 and 2009. The closest he came to playing in a Super Bowl was during the 2002-03 season. The Oakland Raiders defeated the Titans in the 2003 AFC Championship.
Bulluck was an animated figure who wasn't afraid to express his opinions. Pittsburgh Steelers enthusiasts will always remember him and LenDale White as the players who stomped on "The Terrible Towel" following a regular-season game in 2008. The Titans earned the AFC's No. 1 seed because of that victory. However, the Steelers got the last laugh when they won Super Bowl XLIII.
Bulluck expressed much gratitude toward the fans of Nashville and everybody who supported him through his journey. The small-market presence hurt him in that he couldn't establish himself in terms of recognition. However, Bulluck felt like the lack of a major media outlet and less national attention would help to keep him grounded.
The 2012 Titans have their own crop of young linebackers. Colin McCarthy, Zach Brown and Akeem Ayers are all trying to become the next great linebacker in Titans history. They have a lot of work to do if they're ever going to pass Bulluck.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
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