Stephen Tulloch to be released by Detroit Lions

Stephen Tulloch's five-year run as the Detroit Lions' middle linebacker is coming to a close.

The Lions have informed Tulloch that he will be released after the start of the league year in March, NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported, via a source informed of the team's plans.

Tulloch isn't the only defensive starter losing his starting job. The Lions are also moving on from impending free agent safety James Ihedigbo, per Rapoport.

A tackling machine, Tulloch has patrolled the middle of Detroit's defense as a 16-game starter in four of the past five seasons. He is perhaps best remembered, however, for a 2014 sack celebration that resulted in a torn ACL and a 13-game absence.

Although Tulloch made a strong return from the injury last season, he's no longer viewed as a three-down player at age 31.

The 10-year veteran's release will free up $6 million salary-cap space for Detroit. With DeAndre Levy returning from hip surgery to reclaim the weakside linebacker spot, the Lions might consider moving Josh Bynes to the middle.

Isa Abdul-Quddus, an impending free agent in his own right, is an option to replace Ihedigbo at strong safety after a successful transition from special teamer to defensive starter in the second half of last season.

With defensive tackle Haloti Ngata's future also up in the air, Detroit's defense is entering a transition phase after finishing second in the league in 2014.

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