Charles Tillman done for season, won’t play if Bears make playoffs
BY PATRICK FINLEY Staff Reporter December 16, 2013 9:05PM
Updated: January 18, 2014 6:31AM
Cornerback Charles Tillman was designated to return, but he won’t, after all.
Coach Marc Trestman said on Monday that Tillman won’t play again this season.
Tillman tore his right triceps Nov. 10 against the Lions and was put on injured reserve-designated to return, which would have allowed him to resume practicing next week and made him eligible to play in a potential playoff game.
“He’s not far enough in his recovery to do that,” Trestman said.
Tillman made a brief appearance in the Bears’ locker room last week, wearing a brace on his right elbow, but did not speak to reporters.
Trestman said Tillman was given the injured-list designation in case he would return.
“It became apparent over time that he wouldn’t be available,” Trestman said.
Trestman wouldn’t confirm whether Tillman underwent surgery, a step Tillman didn’t rule out when he last spoke to reporters Nov. 11.
It was an unusual tack for Trestman to take; he had confirmed pending surgeries for defensive tackles Nate Collins and Henry Melton earlier this season.
‘‘We’ve respected Charles’ privacy on the matter,” he said.
Trestman wouldn’t say when the Bears knew Tillman, 32, wouldn’t return.
He might have played his last down as a Bear. Tillman’s contract expires after the season, like more than half the team.
Whether to re-sign Tillman will be one of the Bears’ most intriguing decisions of the offseason.
In the last year of a seven-year, $41.5 million deal, Tillman has said that he plans to remain at cornerback rather than switch to safety.
He has appeared in 154 games, starting all but four, since the Bears selected him in the second round of the 2003 draft.
Tillman was picked for two Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro last season, forcing a career-high 10 fumbles and intercepting three passes, all of which he returned for touchdowns.
He’s the Bears’ all-time leader with eight interceptions returned for touchdowns.
In his place, Zack Bowman had two interceptions Sunday, returning one for a 43-yard touchdown against the Browns.