Linebacker Keith Bulluck is generally loved within Orange Nation, a warrior on Saturdays and Sundays who links SU to its last era of football greatness. He has always been affable and professional, a Pro Bowler that despite an absurdly rough background that makes you proud he’s one of us.
Well, Troy Brown has popped a hole in the balloon of respect that Bulluck presumably gets among his peers. During Patriots postgame discussion following New England’s demolition of the Steelers in Pittsburgh, the former Patriots wideout opined on emotional leadership. Tom Brady was noticeably animated on the sidelines during the game while urging on his teammates, a rare departure from his cool, calm demeanor.
Brown was asked if there was a moment in Brady’s career when he grew into a leader and if there are guys who are all bark, but no bite. Brown cited Brady’s rookie season when the quarterback chewed out receiver Vincent Brisby for not running a route correctly in practice as the first sign Brady had the chops to lead. He also called out a pair of veteran linebackers as guys who unlike Brady, couldn’t back it up on the field.
“I’ll give ya two guys who talk a lot but don’t back it up. One is Keith Bulluck. He’s made a living talking. Hey, he’s made a lot of money doing it. He’s made a name for himself in this league. But it’s just talk. He’s not a leader. And the other guy is Joey Porter.”
First, despite the Orange love around this cyber neighborhood, props to Brown. Both former and current athletes are terrified of upsetting the apple cart or calling out anyone within the gilded football fraternity. This is why Brett Favre is still a “warrior” and Randy Moss still “stretches the defense.” Because it’s easier to pat guys on the butt who “love to play the game,” than lower yourself into the unwashed media fray and ruffle feathers.
Honesty, candor and a willingness to let us into the locker room is sorely lacking from almost all ex-jock analysis. But more so, an opinion that goes against popular convention. We know J-Peezy is nothing but a mediocre linebacker wrapped in layers of self promotion. But how many times have we heard that Bulluck is actually not a leader at all? That he’s more T.O. than Ray Lewis – quick to a microphone, but empty pontification.
Before we jump down Brown’s back to protect our own, let’s look at some of Bulluck’s tweets from this summer upon joining the Giants. (KBull53 has not tweeted since August).
“I haven’t heard us mentioned @ all when they speak of the NFC East,that’s gonna change becuz we’re gonna change it! Our work will do the.. talk’n…damn it feels good 2 be a New York G!!! If u kno anything bout football u kno what I’m bout,if not get ready 2 have fun.”
“If ur worried about my ONLY past injury…its a small thing 2 a NY GIANT!!! It’s about 2 go down!!!! #stopplayinwithme“
Plenty of empty flim-flam from a guy who had yet to suit up in the NFC East or as a “New York G.” Bulluck missed the first month of the season with a knee injury. He has yet to have much of an impact on the field for the Giants.
Obviously, a player’s leadership is not only measured between the lines. Providing an example to others, buying into locker room and film work ethos, nudging teammates along are all tenants of leadership. But maybe Brown unmasked the superhero. Bulluck a true leader? #stopplayinwithme