Shy Cullen is someone who has been extremely easy to root for during his entire career at Syracuse. The super-athletic linebacker has an incredible story not just on how he got to Syracuse, but when it comes to his entire youth. The Lowell, Massachusetts native has overcome a lot, but just as he is about to head into his final season with the Orange football program, Cullen may unfortunately find his career cut short.

According to Shy and his family, the starting linebacker and special teams star is ineligible to continue on with the Orange right now, and will spend the spring semester attempting to get his grades up in an effort to rejoin the program for his final campaign.

“As many of you know, Shy has struggled with a learning disability for a long time,” said John Brewer, Cullen’s stepdad, who relayed this update with Shy’s permission. “Unfortunately, this year we received bad news.”

Cullen has fallen just below the Falk School’s academic requirements, making him ineligible moving forward. Now, the family is working on ways to remedy the situation.

“We are exploring every option at this point,” said Brewer. “Shy has enrolled at a school back home and will complete three classes, with the goal of returning to Syracuse to finish his degree. We are hoping Shy could return to Syracuse in the fall if there is a scholarship available or, potentially, paying his own way to attend and walk-on to the team for his final year of eligibility.”

Of course, there remains the possibility that may not be a realistic plan moving forward for Cullen and his family.

“If that cannot happen, we are exploring transferring to play at another school or applying for early eligibility to the NFL Draft process, where Shy hopes to participate in a Pro Day and get an offer to attend an NFL camp,” said Brewer. “We believe Shy’s special teams play and his limited time on the field as a linebacker will show he is a value to a team at any level. We are confident Shy’s combine or Pro Day test numbers will stand out and his ability to take coaching will help him in the future.”

Cullen was a big part of the team’s defensive and special teams turnaround this season, making 31 tackles, including 3.0 for loss and a sack. His time at Syracuse is something he has certainly not taken for granted, either.

“Shy loves his team and no matter what the future holds, he will look back on his time at Syracuse with much happiness,” said Brewer. “Shy would like to apologize to his teammates, coaches, and fans.”

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish