Thanksgiving was a day for former Volunteers in the NFL. Tennessee football’s Shy Tuttle had a pick for the New Orleans Saints against the Atlanta Falcons.
Part of Thanksgiving wasn’t a surprise for former Tennessee football players. Jason Witten had a touchdown catch, and Alvin Kamara got a ton of yards in typical fashion. But Shy Tuttle was the surprise star of the day.
An undrafted rookie defensive lineman who signed with the New Orleans Saints, Tuttle had his first career interception. Yes, the 6’3″ 300-pound defensive lineman had a pick and returned it 19 yards, almost scoring a touchdown.
At the time, the Saints had a 20-9 lead with just under two minutes to go in the third quarter. But the Atlanta Falcons had it 1st and 10 at he New Orleans 40 and were in position to make it close. Matt Ryan then threw the pick. Tuttle was just trying to deflect the pass, but he came down with it in his arm.
BIG MAN INTERCEPTION!
— NFL (@NFL) November 29, 2019
New Orleans didn’t score on that play, but that was a huge deal for Tuttle to help the defense get a stop. He already has a sack on the year. So despite being undrafted, he is representing Tennessee football well in the NFL.
Tuttle having success is a great story. He suffered back to back season-ending injuries in college, and he didn’t get the chance to thrive until his senior season. That year, he joined Alexis Johnson and Kyle Phillips to make the strongest unit of Jeremy Pruitt’s first team: defensive line.
It’s clear that Tennessee football clearly missed all three of them early on this year. While none of them were drafted, they all signed. And there was a chance that they would be steals. Tuttle proved himself a steal with that play.
Ironically, Kamara was a steal for the Saints as well. And 16 years ago, Witten was a major steal for the Dallas Cowboys. So Thanksgiving in 2019 was a big day for steals who played for the Vols in college.