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Linebacker Stephen Tulloch says the Lions are back

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ALLEN PARK, Mich. (AP)

Detroit linebacker Stephen Tulloch can see and sense the Lions heading in the right direction.

He said people outside the organization will agree sometime soon.

''You'll be like, `Man, Tulloch said it, this team's back,''' Tulloch predicted Thursday.

While at the team's practice facility for offseason workouts, Tulloch raved about the franchise's future following a flop of a season that closed with eight straight losses after a rare appearance in the playoffs.

''We'll put 4-12 behind us and we'll go forward and make this a better season,'' he said.

Tulloch is excited about the additions of running back Reggie Bush, safety Glover Quin and defensive end Jason Jones. The trio of free agents join a team that features quarterback Matthew Stafford, receiver Calvin Johnson along with defensive tackles Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley.

''The pieces are there,'' Tulloch said.

Tulloch is also fired up about next week's NFL draft. The team's leading tackler the past two seasons has been closely following pre-draft coverage and won't be surprised if Detroit drafts an offensive tackle or a defensive end with the No. 5 overall pick.

''I'm always on the Internet checking out draft picks and seeing guys and their talents,'' Tulloch said. ''There's some good talented players out there. I know whoever this organization drafts at five or whether they trade down or whatever, they're going to make the best decision to help this team win.''

Tulloch plans to help the Lions bounce back with his actions and words. Entering his eighth NFL season, he wants to be more of a leader on a team that lost defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch.

''I'm hoping I can,'' Tulloch said. ''I want to be that guy. Like I said, I've been around this game a long time. I've always wanted to do that. Kyle was a guy who I always looked up to so I always let him do his thing, but it's time for me to take that role on and lead by example off the field and on the field and put things together.''

Lions general manager Martin Mayhew spoke to reporters and was very coy with his answers, trying not to tip his hand before next week's draft.

Like Tulloch, though, Mayhew is very encouraged about the state of the franchise he leads from the front office.

''I feel good about where we are right now,'' Mayhew said. ''I like what we've got in terms of our corps unit of players. ... I think we have a lot of positive momentum going forward.''

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Follow Larry Lage on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/larrylage

Tagged: Lions, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Stephen Tulloch

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