Congrats to Charles “Peanut” Tillman, who was named as a finalist for the 2011 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award. It’s a well deserved honor for Tillman, who has been very active in his charitable work for years. Here’s the blurb that NFL.com posted on Tillman:
Charles Tillman (Chicago Bears)
Since being drafted by the Bears in 2003, Charles Tillman has an NFL-high 28 forced fumbles among defensive backs, is among the NFL’s top ten in interceptions and interception return yards, and was selected to his first Pro Bowl in 2011, a year in which he established a Bears franchise record for career interception return touchdowns. Since the inception of the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation in 2005, his efforts have impacted more than 1 million Chicago area children and raised more than $1.2 million. In 2008, Tillman’s 3-month old daughter was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. She received a heart transplant and is now healthy and active. Consequently, the Cornerstone Foundation changed their mission to focus on improving the lives of critically and chronically ill children by providing support and life changing experiences. Tillman appeared before Congress to lobby for FDA approval of the Berlin Heart, a device which helped save his daughter’s life, which has since been approved. In addition, Tillman and his wife, Jackie, contribute their time and resources organizations across the country that support the military, education, organ donation and underprivileged children. Tillman participated in a USO Tour in 2010 and hosts youth football camps and visits hospitals on military bases in Illinois, Texas and California. Illinois Governor Quinn declared June 19, 2010 and July 24, 2011 “Charles Tillman Family Organ and Tissue Donor Awareness Day.” In 2011, Bleacher Report named him one of the Most Charitable Players in the NFL and selected him for their Top 5 Good Guys list.
Other finalists are the Chargers’ Phillip Rivers (too jerky) and Matt Birk of the Baltimore Ravens. Nominees from each team received $1000 for the charity of their choice and the three finalists each received an additional $5000 for their charities. You’d better believe that Tillman will put his cash to good use for his Cornerstone Foundation. The winner of the prestigious award, named for our own legend Walter Payton, will be announced on February 4th.
This nomination, along with his first Pro Bowl selection, make it a heck of a year for the Bears veteran cornerback.