Keith Bulluck would like to extend his NFL career to a 12th season, and the pending free agent has a list of teams in mind as potential landing spots.
The linebacker returned from a serious knee injury to play in 13 games with the Giants last season, finishing with 31 tackles and two interceptions. It was New York's faith in him that puts the team on the top of his wish list in 2011. The Detroit Lions and New England Patriots are also suitable homes for the veteran, for different reasons.
"First and foremost, New York because they gave me an opportunity to come and continue my career, really get healthy, where I needed to be," Bulluck told SiriusXM NFL Radio on Monday. "Detroit. I like what (Lions coach Jim) Schwartz is doing up there. Last year, I wasn't prepared physically to play and do the things that they would need me to do, but now I feel I am. New England is always veteran-friendly, and I know, every year, they're in contention of winning."
Bulluck's comments were first reported by the Detroit Free Press.
Bulluck turned 34 in April, an age where NFL linebackers become an endangered species. The three-time All-Pro doesn't doesn't look at himself that way, however. Bulluck thinks his best football is still ahead of him, to the point that his stated goal is to regain his standing as one of the top paid players at his position.
"Like I say, I want to win, really. At this point in my career, financially, me and my family are fine," he said. "But I definitely would like to be in a position to play myself into maybe possibly being one of the top-paid linebackers in the league again. Definitely one of the top players in the league."
Lofty expectations for a man who has been at it since the Tennessee Titans made him their first pick way back in the 2000 NFL Draft.
The Rockland County, N.Y., native has fond feelings for Schwartz, who was the defensive coordinator in Tennessee from 2001-2008. The defense Schwartz is building in Detroit reminds Bulluck of his salad days with the Titans.
"In Tennessee, we always had horses up front," Bulluck said. "We had (Albert) Haynesworth, and we had Tony Brown, Robaire Smith, a plethora of guys that will get it done," he said. "Now they have two big first-rounders (Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley), and with Kyle (Vanden Bosch) up front, I know his veteran leadership is definitely going to have his D-line in order. For them to be taking up double teams and have the linebackers run sideline to sideline, I think that's very important."