Charles Tillman’s Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award Long Overdue

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Feb 1, 2014; New York, NY, USA; Chicago Bears defensive back Charles Tillman receives the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award at the 3rd NFL Honors at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears cornerback Charles “Peanut” Tillman was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year during last night’s NFL Honors ceremony.  It’s a well deserved and very long overdue honor.  The award recognizes a player’s off-the-field community service as well as his playing excellence.

Peanut becomes the fifth Chicago Bear to be named NFL Man of the Year.  He joins Payton (1977), Dave Duerson (1987), Mike Singletary (1990) and Jim Flanigan (2000).  Tillman had been a finalist for the award in two of the three previous seasons, but this season he finally received the top honor.  As usual, he was humble and well spoken when receiving the award:

"I’m grateful to be the recipient of such a prestigious award.  Walter Payton’s legacy continues to be a beacon of service and giving, and I’m just trying to do my small part. I don’t think any of the finalists do what they do to get recognition, but we do it because we are passionate about helping others."

Tillman has started earning accolades on the field in recent years with his stellar play and had it not been for an injury shortened season, he’d likely have made another Pro Bowl.  But it’s Tillman’s tireless work in the community that makes him a standout and overdue for this prestigious honor.