Chicago Bears Face Difficult Decision with Charles Tillman

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Nov 17, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears cinjured ornerback Charles Tillman (right) talks with injured outside linebacker Lance Briggs (left) before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports

Charles Tillman has been a staple of the Chicago Bears defense for the better part of a decade.  After an injury shortened and disappointing season, the Chicago Bears face a difficult decision with the soon-to-be 33 year old free agent cornerback.  Is Tillman part of the future of the Chicago Bears or is it time to part with another legend?

The Bears need to rebuild their defense on a budget and I’m not sure that they can afford to bring Tillman back.  They already re-upped fellow cornerback Tim Jennings to a hefty 4-year $22 million contract extension to start off the offseason, so it seems like they’ve already prioritized which cornerback they thought they needed back.  Jennings is younger than Tillman, though certainly not as accomplished.

Tillman ranks third all time on the Bears with 36 interceptions and tops on the team with 9 turnover returns for a touchdown.  Simply, he is the best cornerback in Chicago Bears franchise history.   Tillman has made it clear he’d like to return to the Bears:

‘‘Chicago has been great; Chicago is great,’’ Tillman said as Bears players cleaned out their lockers at Halas Hall. ‘‘They’ve got great owners, great fans, great teammates. This is a great team; it’s a great organization. Eleven years here is truly an honor. I’m truly blessed with the McCaskey family for what they’ve done, for them taking a chance on a little scrawny kid out of Lafayette, Louisiana. So, yeah, man, I’m truly blessed and happy they took a chance drafting a little kid out of Louisiana.’’

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  • DeCon

    Boomer…You know where I stand and it has nothing to do with the fact that Tillman is my favorite current Bear and has been for a while. Peanut embodies everything I try to teach my kids both on and off the field. I hope the Bears do the right thing and bring him back to be a leader to the rest of the young players. Since Peppers will likely be gone and even if not, he isn’t a really vocal guy, all the leadership would fall on Briggs and I am not sure if ONE leader on a defense trying to find its way back is enough.

  • Sam Sheneman

    Boomer thanks for a great article! given that Tillman will be offered more elsewhere, the Bears want to go younger, and they are changing their Defensive scheme, unfortunately I Don’t think he is a Bear next year. I hope I’m wrong.

  • John Vassar

    Good article. Tillman may have one more season in him but with recent injuries it has to be a cheap performance based contract. I have had a funny feeling about Tillman all off season. When the season ended and Tucker was under fire, Tillman was quoted as saying some players on the D didn’t buy into the new coach, It is well known he was one of Lovies faves and loyalty on the D to Lovie was strong. I got this feeling Tillman may have been one not to buy in and maybe it is time to say ciao. Look there is good depth at CB in the draft and a couple of guys in the UFA. Not like we can fill the hole. Even Frey showed potential. Might be time to say thanks for the memories.