After signing a one-day contract with the Chicago Bears on Friday, cornerback Charles Tillman was able to retire as a member of the organization, and he reminisced at a Halas Hall press conference about his decade-plus career with the team.
“You saw me turn into a man in front of your own eyes,” Tillman said. “I had a chip on my shoulder ‘cause I was this young kid that no one knew about…I wanted people to know I could play with anybody despite going to a smaller Division I school.”
Tillman certainly did prove that, as he became one of the best cornerbacks in the history of the franchise. He had 36 career interceptions with the Bears during his 12-year career in Chicago, the third-most in franchise history, and he also had 42 forced fumbles, using the iconic “Peanut Punch” move that he invented to help knock the ball away from receivers.
“I’m just gonna try to separate the man away from the ball the best way I know how,” he said when recalling the origins of the punch. “That’s not with my shoulder pads. That’s with my fists.”
After a 12-year career with the Bears, Tillman spent his final NFL season with the Carolina Panthers. Although he did suffer an injury that ended his season, he was an integral part of a secondary that ultimately made it all the way to the Super Bowl before losing to the Denver Broncos in the title game earlier this year.
With two NFC Championship rings in his collection and a third appearance in the game back in 2011 (which the Bears lost to the Green Bay Packers), Tillman has had a very good career in football, and although he will be plenty busy this fall as an analyst for Fox Sports, there is one thing that he regrets about his NFL career.
“If there’s one regret I have, it’s that I wasn’t the first one to make the 40-40 (interceptions and forced fumbles) club,” Tillman said.