Dec 21, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman (33) during the first half at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bears offseason is in full swing as we head toward the start of the new league year and Free Agency. As a part of our Chicago Bears Roster Review, we’re leading off by looking at Bears Free Agents. New GM Ryan Pace and head coach John Fox have some tough decisions to make as they reshape the Bears roster in hopes of a bounceback 2015 season.
Charles Tillman, CB, Age 33
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The 2014 season was supposed to be a bounce back year for Charles Tillman however, he was bitten by the injury bug yet again. The long-time Chicago Bears cornerback watched from the sidedlines for another year after injuring his triceps again in week two against the San Francisco 49ers. During that game, Tillman was seen very emotion emotional on the sidelines with trainers. It was a difficult scene for any Bears fan to watch, knowing the injury looked serious and his struggles over the past year.
Tillman played just two games during the 2014 season finishing with only eight tackles, zero interceptions and zero forced fumbles. Although, injured Tillman showed great support of his teammates throughout out the year. He was regularly seen giving support and instruction to rookie cornerback Kyle Fuller, who had taken over for him. Tillman’s dedication his team was appreciated by fans considering the lack of commitment by other long time veteran Bears players.
Tillman’s had a stellar career in Chicago since drafted in 2003, with a recorded 857 tackles, 42 forced fumbles and 36 interceptions. He is one of the most underrated cornerbacks in the league. Tillman’s famous “punch out” which has caused many of the forced fumbles has been exciting to watch over the years. Not only has he been productive on the field for the Bears but he’s been a class act off the field. Tillman was recognized for his work in the community by receiving the Salute to Service Award in 2012 and the Walter Payton Man of the Year award in 2014.
The Bears should keep Tillman for the 2015 season for a many reasons. Even at age 33 he can still be a productive player if he can stay healthy, along with helping to build younger defensive players like Fuller. There is also the leadership of Tillman. Although, he is not vocal, he continues to display the kind of character that you want in a veteran player. His attitude and work ethic fit with what new head coach John Fox intends to build in Chicago. He made only $3,050,000 in 2014 which was a small price tag for a veteran with Tillman’s experience. If the Bears could get Tillman for the right price, it would be a solid veteran addition to the Bears secondary. Considering all the great things he has done and been a part of, it would be fitting to see him retire as a Chicago Bear.