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Tillman sits out second straight practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 26, 2013 – 4:54 pm

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman sat out practice Thursday for the second straight day with knee and groin injuries. More will be known Friday about his status for Sunday’s game in Detroit.

“He’s day-to-day,” said coach Marc Trestman. “We’re hopeful and I’ll tell you exactly where he is tomorrow. We’re just not sure. We’ll see where he is in the morning. He worked off the field all day. We’re optimistic, but we’ll know more in the morning.”

If Tillman is unable to play against the Lions, he would be replaced by Zack Bowman, who practiced without restrictions Thursday after being limited by a knee injury Wednesday. Bowman has appeared in 60 games with 16 starts in six seasons with the Bears, recording 104 tackles, seven interceptions, 13 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.

“We’re not going to put Tillman out there if the doctors don’t feel he’s ready to play,” Trestman said. “That being the case, Zack worked [Thursday] and he worked all practice and he’ll be in there to play [if needed] and then we’ll play defense.”

Tillman has started 51 straight games for the Bears dating back to the 2010 season opener. He has been extremely durable since arriving in 2003 as a second-round pick from Louisiana-Lafayette, missing just six games over the last eight-plus seasons.

In other injury news, cornerback Sherrick McManis (quad) missed practice for the second straight day. Tillman and McManis were the only two Bears who did not work out on Thursday.

For the Lions, running back Reggie Bush (knee) practiced without limitations for the second day in a row, while eight Detroit starters were limited: defensive end Ezekiel Ansah (abdomen), safety Louis Delmas (knee), tackle Jason Fox (groin), cornerback Chris Houston (hand), receiver Calvin Johnson (knee), linebackers DeAndre Levy (abdomen) and Ashlee Palmer (ankle), and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh (knee).


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Tillman works on sideline during practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 19, 2013 – 2:40 pm

Cornerback Charles Tillman (knee) sat out individual and team drills Thursday for the second straight day, but the Bears are hopeful that he will be able to play Sunday night in Pittsburgh.

“Charles worked on the sideline with the trainers, worked actively on the sideline with trainers,” said coach Marc Trestman. “He was limited and did all the walkthroughs throughout practice.”

If Tillman is unable to play against the Steelers, Zack Bowman would likely start in his place.

“He got a lot of practice time throughout the OTAs and has always done a good job for us in that regard in backing up the corners,” Trestman said of Bowman, a sixth-year pro from Nebraska. “We’re encouraged that Charles will be ready, but Zack has had a good week of practice as well.”

Receiver Brandon Marshall missed the final portion of practice as a precaution after experiencing back tightness.

“Brandon had a very good practice and then about the middle to the late practice tightened up a little in his back,” Trestman said. “So just to be cautious we pulled him out of practice. He walked around and moved around. We’ll just be cautious and we’ll have him limited [Friday] just coming out and we’ll see where he’s at.”

Tight end Martellus Bennett (shoulder) and right guard Kyle Long (back) practiced without restrictions Thursday after being limited Wednesday.

For the Steelers, cornerback Cortez Allen (ankle) did not practice and linebacker Jarvis Jones (heel) was limited.


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Tillman limited, but expected to play

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 11, 2013 – 2:43 pm

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman was limited in practice Wednesday due to a sore knee, but the two-time Pro Bowler likely will start Sunday’s home game against the Minnesota Vikings.

“I do expect him to play,” coach Marc Trestman said after the Bears worked out inside the Walter Payton Center. “He was limited today. He did do some work, not just in individual but during team. It’s just precautionary not to give him all the reps, but he was out there working.”

The only Bears player listed on the injury report Wednesday, Tillman had two interceptions in last Sunday’s 24-21 season-opening win over the Cincinnati Bengals. The 11-year veteran ranks third on the franchise’s all-time list with 35 interceptions and his 39 forced fumbles are the most by any player since Tillman entered the NFL in 2003.

Trestman called Tillman’s penchant to generate takeaways “just remarkable,” saying: “It is something we saw all through training camp and the OTAs. It didn’t change in the game.”

The Bears are going to need Tillman to make plays Sunday against the Vikings, especially in run support versus star running back Adrian Peterson, the reigning NFL MVP.

“It’s going to be huge,” said defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. “We all have to do a better job of tackling. That’s one of the things we’ve talked about already this week, it’s the tackling. Peanut is a guy who is an all-around player. He’s going to do what he needs to do in the run game.

“He’s going to support the run, he’s going to tackle, he’s going to force fumbles, and he’s going to compete in the passing game too. But tackling is going to be huge for our whole defense. That’s one of the things we’ve been talking about. We have to become stronger tacklers.”


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Tillman shines again in practice

Posted by Larry Mayer on July 29, 2013 – 4:33 pm

Charles Tillman did not force any fumbles in Monday’s practice, but the Pro Bowl cornerback displayed his ball skills nevertheless, breaking up three passes in team drills.

“He’s a very skilled athlete,” said defensive coordinator Mel Tucker. “He’s very competitive, he’s super smart, he really knows what he’s doing out there and he’s very, very consistent. What you see is what you get. He’s going to do it every time. He’s going to compete at a high level, and those are the kinds of guys you can win with and they’re fun to coach.”

In Monday’s practice, Tillman forced an incompletion by arriving at the same time as the ball and drilling running back Armando Allen. The 11-year veteran later broke up passes intended for receiver Earl Bennett on back-to-back plays.

“[Tillman] is a good veteran, a leader,” Tucker said. “The guys look up to him and he sets a good example on and off the field for us, so it’s really a privilege when you get a chance to coach guys like that.”


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Jennings, Tillman 1-2 in Pro Bowl voting

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 29, 2012 – 1:21 pm

Ten Bears rank in the top five at their respective positions in the latest fan balloting for the NFC Pro Bowl team.

Tim Jennings (189,791 votes) and Charles Tillman (137,031) are the top vote-getters at cornerback, while Henry Melton (155,377) leads all defensive tackles.

Brandon Marshall (263,700) is second behind the Giants’ Victor Cruz (352,611) at receiver and Major Wright (71,532) is second behind the Packers’ Charles Woodson (78,503) at strong safety.

Kick returner Devin Hester (67,585) and special teams standout Blake Costanzo (36,790) are third; inside linebacker Brian Urlacher (86,345) is fourth; and defensive end Julius Peppers (109,090) and outside linebacker Lance Briggs (99,901) are fifth.

Pro Bowl voting will continue online and on mobile phones via NFL.com/probowl through Monday, Dec. 17. The teams will be announced at 6 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, Dec. 26 on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access.”

The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, a week before Super Bowl XLVII, and televised live on NBC at 6 p.m. (CT) from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

The all-star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent NFC and AFC. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes Dec. 20-21.


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Jennings, Tillman 1-2 in Pro Bowl voting

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 14, 2012 – 4:45 pm

Eleven Bears players rank in the top five at their respective positions in fan balloting for the NFC Pro Bowl team, the NFL announced Wednesday.

Tim Jennings (116,347 votes) and Charles Tillman (80,604) are the top vote-getters at cornerback, while Henry Melton (98,957) leads all defensive tackles.

Brandon Marshall (153,574) is second behind the Giants’ Victor Cruz (257,016) at receiver and Major Wright (46,976) is second behind the Packers’ Charles Woodson (53,531) at strong safety.

Kick returner Devin Hester (43,315) and special teams standout Blake Costanzo (25,209) are third; inside linebacker Brian Urlacher (55,465) and kicker Robbie Gould (24,344) are fourth; and defensive end Julius Peppers (70,082) and outside linebacker Lance Briggs (67,062) are fifth.

Pro Bowl voting will continue online and on mobile phones via NFL.com/probowl through Monday, Dec. 17. The teams will be announced at 6 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, Dec. 26 on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access.”

The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, a week before Super Bowl XLVII, and televised live on NBC at 6 p.m. (CT) from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.

The all-star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent NFC and AFC. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes Dec. 20-21.


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Recognition for Tillman well deserved

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 8, 2012 – 2:15 pm

While wondering why it has taken so long, Bears linebackers Brian Urlacher and Lance Briggs are happy that teammate Charles Tillman is finally getting the recognition he deserves.

A year after being voted to the Pro Bowl for the first time in his career, Tillman was named NFC defensive player of the month for October after winning two weekly awards and was praised by President Barack Obama during a nationally-televised interview the night before the election.

“Charles Tillman has been an integral part of our defense since he’s gotten here in 2003,” Briggs said. “He’s getting a lot of attention now. He should have been getting it for the past 10 years. He’s played at a high level. He’s an elite player and has always played at a high level. Now in Year 10 he’s taken it up to another level. He’s a defensive player of the year type player.”

In October, Tillman returned interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back road wins in Dallas and Jacksonville, setting the Bears’ all-time record with eight defensive TDs. He also held Lions Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson to three receptions for a season-low 34 yards.

Tillman then forced a career-high four fumbles in last Sunday’s 51-20 rout of the Titans, increasing his season total to seven and giving him 36 forced fumbles in his career, the most among NFL defensive backs since he entered the league in 2003.

Urlacher doesn’t know why Tillman didn’t receive the credit he deserves until the past two seasons.

“Peanut should be getting a ton of recognition,” Urlacher said. “He’s played great the last four or five years. Look at his stats. He’s caused [36] fumbles, has [32] picks. It didn’t happen in the last two years. He’s played 10 years. He’s had those picks and all those big plays his whole career. It’s not just the one year he’s done it. I’m glad he’s getting it now because he deserves it.”


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Bears preach family-first environment

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 7, 2012 – 4:08 pm

If Charles Tillman chooses to attend the birth of his fourth child instead of playing in Sunday night’s game against the Texans, that would be just fine with coach Lovie Smith.

“It’s family first,” Smith said. “If there’s something you feel like you need to do for your family, always do that. How we look at it is like an injury. If a player can’t go, it’s next guy up and we’ll keep going.”

Tillman first mentioned the possibility of missing the game during a radio interview Tuesday night on WSCR-AM 670. He declined to discuss the situation in detail Wednesday, saying only that he would play in the game if his wife Jackie gave birth Sunday morning.

In 2008, their three-month-old daughter Tiana was diagnosed with dilated cardiomypathy and needed a heart transplant to survive. She eventually received one and remains healthy.

“At the end of the day, [family] is all you have,” Tillman said. “This game is important to me. But after what we went through with my middle child, Tiana, to me football is second. It’ll always be second or third in my life. That was a great lesson learned. When I’m done playing football, my family will always be there for me.”


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Bears cornerbacks make history

Posted by Larry Mayer on November 1, 2012 – 4:49 pm

Bears teammates Charles Tillman and Tim Jennings are providing some pretty compelling evidence that they’re the best cornerback tandem in the NFL.

Tillman has been selected the NFC defensive player of the month for October after Jennings won the award in September. The two are the first cornerbacks from the same team to claim the award in back-to-back months.

“It’s special to see that, and they are playing at such a high level,” said defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli. “They’re great players, and they’re doing a great job.”

Tillman was honored after returning interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back games and holding Lions Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson to three receptions for a season-low 34 yards. Jennings leads the NFL with a career-high six interceptions, one of which he brought back 25 yards for his first pro touchdown.

While the 6-2, 198-pound Tillman generally matches up against bigger receivers like Johnson, the 5-8, 185-pound Jennings shadows smaller, quick receivers such as the Panthers’ Steve Smith.

“He has his style; I have my style,” Tillman said. “I think it’s what makes our defense a little bit better than some, especially in years past the way we’re able to match up against different receivers. I definitely think that’s a bonus for us.”

Asked if he and Jennings should be recognized as the best cornerback tandem in the NFL, Tillman said: “I don’t know. We’re only halfway through the season, and I definitely think there’s some room for improvement with myself and Tim.

“The sky’s the limit. I definitely think we can, but you don’t get any awards halfway through the season for being the best cornerback tandem. I definitely think there’s potential for that. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing; making plays, covering receivers, creating turnovers, getting our offense some good field position and scoring.”


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Tillman recovering from leg injury

Posted by Larry Mayer on September 10, 2012 – 4:33 pm

Although the Bears did not practice Monday, they were required to submit an injury report to the NFL because they play Thursday night against the Packers in Green Bay.

Had they worked out, cornerback Charles Tillman (shin) and tight end Kyle Adams (shoulder) would not have practiced and tackle J’Marcus Webb (thumb) would have been limited.

Brian Urlacher also would have been held out as a precautionary measure as he works his way back following arthroscopic knee surgery.

The star middle linebacker started Sunday’s season opener against the Colts after missing more than a month of training camp and all four preseason games. Urlacher sat out most of the second half after the Bears had built a 20-point lead.

“I’m pleased with the way he played his first time out,” coach Lovie Smith said Monday. “You have to look at it like that. It was his first action when they’re cutting you live and having to take on blocks. I think he did a decent job with it.”

Tillman injured his lower leg while blocking during a Colts punt early in Sunday’s game. He returned for a couple defensive series before being replaced by Kelvin Hayden, an eight-year veteran who signed with the Bears in April.

“Of course we want Charles out on the football field as much as possible,” Smith said. “We felt coming in that we had three starting corner types, saying Kelvin is one.

“Kelvin came in, did a good job, had a big hit, and made a couple big plays, so it was good to get him into the mix. We’ll need all three corners during the course of the year. But we need to get [Tillman] back out there.”

Smith said that he expects Tillman to play Thursday night in Green Bay, but the Bears coach conceded that his “glass is half-full always.”


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