CHICAGO - OCTOBER 26: Cornerback Charles Tillman #33 of the Chicago Bears returns an interception with blocking help from teammates Lance Briggs #55 and Brian Urlacher #54 during a game against the Detroit Lions on October 26, 2003 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Bears defeated the Lions 24-16. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
The patented Peanut ball punch is back.
Though it sounds like a game teenagers play, it's actually the effective move that Charles "Peanut" Tillman uses to force fumbles. Throughout his career, Peanut has forced 20 such fumbles.
Tillman says that it was a high school coach who taught him that move.
''He came to me and said, 'You probably could have forced four fumbles if you just punched the ball,'" Tillman said. ''I was like, 'All right.'"
Defensive backs don't usually lead their teams the fumble category, but Peanut does. Last year he tied a career record with four forced fumbles, but he could produce even bigger stats this year. Brian Urlacher's return, and the addition of Julius Peppers to the defensive line, will free up an overtaxed defense to focus on their specialty.
For Peanut, that means he can just keep punching out that football.
He is adept at taking advantage of situations. In the game against the Cowboys, Tillman assisted D.J. Moore in tackling Roy Willams, then employed the ball punch. Like a boxer looking for a KO, he delivered an effective strike on the ball, and it came right out.