The stories circulated quickly when Tim Bulman was a senior captain on the Boston College High School football team. And as he led both the offensive and defensive lines of the eventual Division 1 state champions, some of those stories became legend.
I was a freshman at the school at the time, and I'd hear stories that he would wake up in the middle of the night just to lift weights, then go back to sleep. Kids said he would snag sewer covers off the streets in Milton, Mass. when he ran out of 45-pound plates at home. They said that he once snapped a bench-press bar in half because it was overloaded with weight.
Whether the stories were true didn't matter. The boys at BC High listened, saw him dominate on the field, and thought he could do anything.
But never did we think he'd play for the Patriots. Even for the kids who passed him in the hallways on the Dorchester campus, it would have seemed too far-fetched. But here he is nonetheless, 12 years after his senior fall at BC High, on a one-year deal with his hometown team after spending the last six seasons in Houston.
"Tim had some production for the Texans," Bill Belichick said today. "He led their team in sacks, or was second in sacks . . . a couple years ago. You know, active guy, smart. Had a good workout, he's in good condition, so we'll see how it goes."
Bulman played in 41 games in Houston, including 10 last season. He was undrafted out of Boston College in 2005 but was signed by Arizona and played eight games for the Cardinals.
He's versatile -- he has experience in both 4-3 and 3-4 sets, which should benefit him -- but a roster spot at the end of camp is far from certain.
Until then, we'll see how it goes. The boys who remember him from BC High -- not to mention the folks from who know him from BC or back in Milton -- will certainly be watching.