Thursday marked the official end of an era for the Chicago Bears as cornerback Charles Tillman’s career with the team came to an end as he signed a one-year deal with the Carolina Panthers.
Tillman, who was drafted in 2003 by the Bears and spent all 12 seasons of his career with the team up until this point, is arguably the best cornerback in team history and could go down as a Hall of Fame-caliber player when his career ends. He played in 156 total games for the Bears, racking up 36 interceptions, scoring eight touchdowns off of those picks, and forced 42 fumbles during his tenure.
While Tillman has slowed down in recent years, only playing in 10 games over the past two seasons because of a pair of triceps injuries, he still showed plenty of pop when he was on the field.
The 2012 season was arguably the best of his career, as he scored three touchdowns and forced 10 fumbles using his patented “Peanut Punch” method.
The Bears’ defense declined precipitously after that as Tillman dealt with health issues, and the team is heading in a new direction with his departure. Kyle Fuller and Tim Jennings will likely be the starters on opening day for the Bears in 2015, with players like Alan Ball and Demontre Hurst competing for playing time as well.