|Former Titans great Keith Bulluck will be on the opposite sideline when the Titans and Giants meet Sunday at new Meadowlands Stadium.
It's Week 3 in the NFL, but Sunday brings a visit from the Tennessee Titans, the franchise that drafted Bulluck in 2000 and didn't want him back after he tore his left anterior cruciate ligament last December.
Bulluck said Wednesday he has definitely been looking forward to this game. He's feeling much better and looking forward to tackling both Chris Johnson and Vince Young.
Why the Titans' third-leading tackler is with New York depends on who you ask, and Bulluck waded into his side of this story during a conference call Wednesday with Tennessee reporters. He said he heard nothing from the Titans once his contract was up, even though he spent the first two months after surgery rehabilitating in the building.
"I guess I am happier this team just seeing me from afar gave me the shot to come and compete for a spot on their football team and a team I was with a decade didn't even think to holler at me,'' Bulluck said.
This is where the stories part.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher calls Bulluck one of his all-time favorite. The coach insisted after Bulluck signed his one-year deal with the Giants in late July that the Titans had exchanged numbers. Asked Wednesday if the Titans had made an offer to Bulluck, Fisher refused to rehash that.
"He's got his own opinion. We have ours as far as what happened. He made the decision to leave,'' Fisher said.
Bulluck ranks third in the Titans' history with his 1,265 tackles between 2000 and 2009, behind only Gregg Bingham and Robert Brazile. He ranks fourth with 135 consecutive games played behind Bruce Matthews, Brazile and Craig Hentrich. He's second to Bingham with 19 career interceptions by a linebacker.
Bulluck said he didn't want it to seem like he has ill feelings toward the Titans or anyone in the organization.
"At the same time, I feel that I worked there for 10 years. I did everything that was asked of me and even then some. For that to be the final situation to my career there as far as saying that I wanted to get out of Tennessee and I was looking elsewhere already?'' Bulluck said.
"How can I be trying to go anywhere if I have a torn ACL and don't have much value to anyone.''
Bulluck had surgery in Tennessee where he still has a home. He said he moved to New York for two months of rehabilitation before going to Arizona. At one point, his agent sent out tape of the linebacker working out to gauge teams' interest. Bulluck said he asked his agent if the Titans ever called. The answer? No.
"Those people know my number. If they were really trying to get in touch with me, trying to sign me and do all that stuff, I'm sure my phone would've rang, my agent's phone ... That didn't happen,'' Bulluck said.
How much Bulluck gets to hurt his old team Sunday remains to be seen.
He started the Giants' opener against Carolina. He was limited against Indianapolis in last week's 38-14 loss as the Giants played extra defensive backs. He has four tackles this season. But he said he feels much better now.
"I just need to play because I feel my spring back in my legs. I feel my explosion keep coming along and been constantly working at getting everything back. I just left the weight room working on my stuff. I'm on top of everything ... I feel great now. It's just a matter of getting out and mixing it up,'' Bulluck said.
The linebacker knows the Titans' defense and offense as well as anyone. Fisher said Bulluck won't know what the Titans (1-1) are going to call when.
"I don't know how much he paid attention to the offense,'' Fisher said. "He understands that we put things in week after week after week that are different. I am sure from a terminology standpoint he might be able to share some ideas, but it's nothing that we're nervous about.''
NOTES: Defensive end Jacob Ford did not practice with a sprained right knee. Defensive tackle Tony Brown (right knee) also did not practice along with offensive tackle Mike Otto (right knee). ... Defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who got hurt when a player rolled into him on the sideline last week, coached Wednesday with a brace on his right leg and working from a cart.