Nov 17, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman (33) on the sidelines during the first quarter against the Baltimore Ravens at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Rob Grabowski-USA TODAY Sports
The Chicago Bears may be making plans for life without Charles Tillman, but he’s not making plans for life without football. Tillman, who’s missed 21 of the last 23 games due to injury, is not ready to hang up his cleats just yet. He’s got unfinished business:
"“I love the game. I’m not going to stop ’til I’m dead,” Tillman told USA TODAY Sports recently. “Obviously, I can’t play until I’m like 50 or 60. But I just want to keep going. I’m feeling good. I just have unfinished business. I want a championship. I think that’s my main reason (to keep playing): I’m hungry for a championship.”"
Tillman doesn’t have anyone from the front office in his corner with the Bears installing a new regime, but as he points out, he’s been pretty durable throughout his career:
"“I think my resume speaks for itself. All 10 years of playing (through) multiple injuries – it takes a lot to keep me off (the field). But this one, I couldn’t go because I couldn’t protect myself.”"
The problem is, this is what it looks like to get old in the NFL. Sure, the speed might not be what it was, but better knowledge and awareness make up for that. No, the problem is, those little bumps and bruises turn into more serious injuries and those injuries sideline a player and they can’t come back from them. Before you know it, you realize they just can’t play any more. It’s not pretty. But Tillman things those back to back torn triceps tendons the last couple of seasons:
"I think my resume speaks for itself. All 10 years of playing (through) multiple injuries – it takes a lot to keep me off (the field). But this one, I couldn’t go because I couldn’t protect myself.”"
It’s true. Tillman has been pretty durable throughout most of his career. He knows he has an uphill battle to get a new contract as a 34-year old with an “injury history.” But all he’s asking for is a chance.
"“I enjoy what I do, and I have fun doing it. And I think I’m OK at it. I’ve done all right. And if you don’t think I can do all right, all I ask is a chance so I can prove myself. That’s all I want. Just give me a chance, and I can show you better than I can tell you.”"
Would Ryan Pace and John Fox, who owe Tillman nothing, give him a chance to show that he can still contribute? Maybe it’s time to for him to make that move to safety to try to extend his career.
Tillman says he’s hungry for a championship. Would a return to the Bears help satiate Tillman’s hunger? Should the Bears take a chance on Tillman? If I were making the decision, it would be an easy one. I’d bring Tillman back to see what he’s got left in the tank. They can’t count on him but they shouldn’t count him out either.