Bears cornerback Charles Tillman looking forward to competition
BY SEAN JENSEN firstname.lastname@example.org May 10, 2012 11:08PM
Charles Tillman was a finalist for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award, along with Philip Rivers of the Chargers and winner Matt Birk of the Ravens. | Nick Laham~Getty Images
Updated: June 12, 2012 8:25AM
Bears cornerback Charles Tillman doesn’t want to be “that guy.”
“You know, the one who makes the Pro Bowl one time and is done with it,” Tillman said. “I want to have that title like Lance [Briggs] and Brian [Urlacher] and [Julius Peppers]. Those guys stay hungry.
“I want to be like them. I want to make it multiple times. I don’t want to be a one-and-done guy.”
Many think Tillman, 31, already should have multiple Pro Bowl selections to his credit, but he clearly had a standout 2011 season with three interceptions, four forced fumbles and two touchdowns.
With offseason workouts in full swing, Tillman welcomes new competition to Halas Hall for his starting spot, and he welcomes a chance to practice on a daily basis against three-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall.
“We have big receivers in our division,’’ Tillman said. ‘‘From that standpoint, the first thing I thought about was I was going to get better. He would make me a better player.
“Is he going to catch some balls? Oh, yeah. But if you go against the best or one of the best every day, it can only make you better. He’ll push me.”
The Bears didn’t overhaul his position, re-signing Tim Jennings, adding veteran Kelvin Hayden and spending two late draft picks on Greg McCoy and Isaiah Frey. But Tillman still considers all of those players a “threat” to take his starting spot.
“We all need to be pushed,” Tillman said.
As competitive as he is, though, Tillman admittedly isn’t very talented at bowling, even though he has a charity event June 7 at Kings Lanes in Rosemont. He’ll host a fund-raiser at Kings to benefit the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, which helps critically and chronically ill children. For his charitable efforts, Tillman was a finalist for the NFL’s Walter Payton Man of the Year Award last season.
“We always want to try to mix it up and be creative and — more important — have fun,’’ Tillman said. ‘‘This is a better way to interact with fans and supporters. It’ll be fun to make an ass out of myself and bowl because I’m not any good. Not at all.”
He can top 100, he said, but he doesn’t measure up against more talented teammates such as Jennings, Major Wright, Devin Hester and D.J. Moore.
“Those guys are good,” he said. “They have their own balls. I don’t have my own.”
So which teammate is the best? “I’d probably have to say Wright,’’ Tillman said. ‘‘The only reason I say that is they had a little thing, and he won. But they battle all the time.”