Tim Bulman Interview Part Four

In the final installment of his interview with Eagle Insider, Tim talks about his time in the NFL, the struggle to make a roster and the life of an undrafted rookie. He also talks a bit about life as an NFL player, on and off the field.

Tim wrapped up his BC career as a defensive tackle, having amassed 38 tackles for a loss, 16 ½ of them coming in his senior season. As a result he was feeling pretty good going into the NFL Draft in 2005. However being a bit undersized for a defensive tackle in the NFL, and without any body of work at defensive end in college, his draft stock suffered. Regardless, Tim was very upset being passed over by all the NFL teams for seven rounds.

"For me it was really disappointing in the fact that I wanted that dream of having been drafted. The way it happened it didn't work out. I expected to be drafted, I was projected to be a second day guy fourth round to sixth round kind of guy. The draft never goes how people think but I got to go to a team and go to camp and I worked my butt off. It was a longer road than I think a draft pick would have taken, but everyone isn't always given that golden ticket right away.

"It was disappointing with the numbers I thought I had put up in my playing time at BC, the stats, the numbers that I put up at the combine, I just thought that I had really solidified myself as a prospect but it didn't happen. I still use it as a little fire under my belly, still one of those things that urges you on, you never forget it. It is in the past and I can't really look back on it."

It is quite the climb to make a NFL roster as an undrafted rookie. Tim has not only impressed one team enough to make the roster, but now two teams. After making the practice squad as a rookie nose tackle in Arizona, he played his way on to the active roster and saw game action in eight games his rookie season.

After being released by Arizona at the end of training camp in his second year, he hooked back on with a NFL team, this time with the Houston Texans' practice squad. Now playing a new position, defensive end, he saw limited game action his first two years with Houston only playing in two games. But this past season he played 14 games and got his first NFL sack, before ending the season with eighteen tackles and four sacks.

"I was playing a cock nose and a three technique in Arizona, I was about 295 lbs. and now I am 275 lbs.. I am lighter than I was in college, but I'm stronger and I'm playing end and I feel really good. And I'm like, ‘Damn, I should have been this weight the whole time and what would have happened!' I got released out of camp in Arizona in 2006 and they did not sign me to practice squad. I ended up driving my truck from Arizona back to Boston with all my stuff. I got back about three days later and I sat on my couch and waited for my agent to set up some interview or tryouts.

"I had about 5 ½ weeks that I went to the tryouts. First with the Colts and Titans, then I went to the Texans and I ended up landing on the Texans practice squad in early October. And I've been down here ever since. I built a little resume out there in Arizona and I thought I was doing everything right. Again it was just kinda that business side. Once you see it and it happens to you, you feel a little more numb to it. You're like, ‘OK, I'm just a little piece of this machine in this big wheel that's spinning.' It is tough to not get emotional and personal about it, but you are just part of a bigger business. I learned that the hard way."

Not playing football or even being part of a team for the first September since he was a child must have been really tough for Tim. As hard as that September was for Tim in 2006, it played a big part in where he is today.

"It was an extremely hard experience because a lot of my buddies that I had played with had made teams and were playing. And I was stuck back at home and I didn't want to go over and see any games at BC. I felt like a dog with his tail between his legs, like I failed. I don't know why I felt like that but that is how I felt, like I let everyone down. I really wasn't enjoying much about anything, I was just training harder and hoping that I got that opportunity, and fortunately for me I did enough in a workout and was able to catch someone's eye. I haven't looked back since then and have just been trying to work to where I am right now and just stay here."

After the two huge disappointments of being undrafted in 2005 when joining Arizona and then having been cut in the NFL before joining Houston, in which situation did he find himself hungrier upon arriving, Arizona or Houston?

"I would say that being cut and seeing everything taken away from you for the first time, I had a real big fire under me. I told myself that you have two years left, as I always wanted to give myself three years to see if I could make pro. If not, I was going to get a suit job somewhere back home.

"It was more heart wrenching the second time. In Arizona you come as an undrafted rookie. If you make the practice squad out of camp that is awesome. If you were just a part of a team the whole year that was just a real big step in the right direction. Then it was almost like I took ten steps back. It was definitely harder being on the Texans practice squad and really having to grind my way up. I had a lot of fuel in my tank for training, I really had something to prove I felt."

Last year was a breakout year for Tim. He saw regular playing time and was even used as a situational pass rusher opposite pro-bowler Mario Williams.

"I didn't play in the first two games. It was almost like a little bit of an open competition, they were trying to find someone who could rush the passer opposite Mario (Williams) on those third down and nickel down situations. I ended up getting an opportunity in week three and I tried to take advantage to the best of my ability.

"That is where I ended up, I played mostly on nickel downs. I would go in there and spell the starters here and there on base defenses. I was the nickel rusher opposite Mario playing end, so that was pretty cool."

Tim is preparing for a big year in Houston that can dictate which way his career will be going. But in the off-season there is time for things other than football. Tim discusses his hobbies outside of football.

"I do a bunch of things. I really like to play golf. I'm not great at it but I can definitely go somewhere and not look like an idiot. I'm happy about that. I am usually a low 90's player, my best is an 87. I'm trying to work on it and I think if I had a little more time to practice, I don't golf for seven months and then all of sudden I come down here and start golfing more frequently and get better and then stop. My potential in golf could be alright.

"Believe it or not I enjoy playing Scrabble against people, my family. I have a couple friends down here that I have gotten into Scrabble and it is fun. I like to go out for nice dinners, to go fishing if I have the time.

"I used to be a really good Halo player on Xbox but I kinda tailed off on that. I was really good at Halo 2 and Halo 3. Usually in the middle of camp because we have TV's and Xboxes in the player's lounge, and we get those four hours off in between practices. Usually there is some Halo games going on, so I might have to start picking that up again. I haven't really changed much since I left school other than I have bills to pay."

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