Stephen Tulloch's 2014 season ended in one embarrassing celebration. The Detroit Lions linebacker blew out his knee celebrating a Week 3 sack of Aaron Rodgers by mimicking the quarterback's "Discount Double Check" celebration.
The 30-year-old middle linebacker, who hadn't missed a game in his career until last season and had started 68 straight regular season games, sat out the majority of the Lions' playoff run.
Seven months after tearing his ACL, Tulloch told the team's official website that he could play today if necessary.
"To be honest with you, I feel great," Tulloch said. "If I had to play today I could definitely play -- a little over six and a half months, seven months in May (since surgery).
"I feel good. I feel blessed to have Dr. (James) Andrews work on me and put me back together. I have a good team of people down in Miami that take care of me. They've gotten me back to a point I can train with the team. I can lift weights and run around. It feels good to be back out there again."
Tulloch's personal timeframe puts him ahead of schedule, when many players -- especially at a position like linebacker where cutting is paramount -- take around a year or more to come back. San Francisco 49ers linebacker NaVorro Bowman, for example, missed all of last season after tearing his ACL in January of 2014.
If Tulloch does indeed return 100 percent this summer, the Lions have five linebackers who could vie for three starting spots: Tulloch, DeAndre Levy, Tahir Whitehead, Kyle Van Noy and Josh Bynes. The depth at linebacker, coupled with a dearth at defensive tackle was one reason we suggested Detroit could move to a 3-4 front -- something the coaching staff has gone out of their way to deny will happen, instead declaring they will use multiple formations to get their playmakers on the field.