Bears cornerback Charles Tillman’s physical playing style may have earned him another accolade during this offseason; most intimidating cornerback.
“Based on film breakdowns of the 2008 season, more NFL receivers dropped passes when Tillman was the primary defender than any other cornerback in the league,” reporter Kevin Seifert wrote in an ESPN.com blog.
Football Outsiders, a research firm known for finding sports trends, discovered the coincidence, Seifert wrote. Writers debate whether Tillman’s presence caused the dropped passes or whether he benefited from coincidence.
Regardless, the six-year veteran has been a Chicago fan favorite since he wrenched away a game-winning touchdown pass from Randy Moss in a 13-10 victory against the Minnesota Vikings in 2003, his rookie year.
Here are a few questions that should be asked of the 2003 Brian Piccolo Award winner, 2003 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year, and Sports Illustrated 2003 Rookie of the Year.
Let’s talk about your success forcing dropped passes from opposing wide receivers. More receivers dropped passes when you were covering them than against any other defensive back in 2008, according to NFL analysts. To what would you attribute that achievement?
What advice do you have for this season’s rookies? In adjusting to the NFL? The media? When dealing with the Bears’ fan base?
The Bears picked up some veteran free-agents during the offseason and drafted a few defensive backs in April. What will you tell the new players during training camp?
How valuable was the experience playing with former Bears cornerbacks R.W. McQuarters and Jerry Azumah in your rookie season?
Greg Blanche, Ron Rivera, and Bob Babich were your former defensive coordinators. What are the differences and similarities between them?
In 2002, the year before you were drafted, the Bears had a 13-3 regular season record and lost 33-19 to the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round of the playoffs. How would you describe the change in the Bears’ mentality from your rookie training camp in 2003 to this season?
Which receiver has been your biggest challenge to play against? How did you prepare for him?
Early in your career, you broke up what would have been a game-winning pass to Randy Moss from Dante Culpepper to save a 13-10 win against the Minnesota Vikings. Would went through your mind from the moment you saw Moss line up across from you until you reached the locker room?
What lessons have stayed with you from that day?
How much time do you spend helping to develop the Bears’ wide receivers during practice? Do you discuss hand technique to defeat man-press coverage? Or help them understand the tendencies of other teams’ defensive backs?
You were born in Chicago. How did you feel when the Bears drafted you in 2003?
Is there added pressure playing for the hometown fans? Is there more motivation?
What did your contract renewal in 2007 mean to you? And how has that affected your relationship with the franchise?
Please share with us an unknown aspect of an NFL player’s life.
Who were your sports heroes when you were a kid?
If you could play with any retired NFL player, who would it be and why?
Let’s shift topics, slightly. Sports fans have a tendency to emphasize a player’s performance and the NFL season occurs during the academic school year. How often do you worry about your children’s day at school after one of your regular season games?
You created The Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation. What prompted you to create the organization? What were the biggest challenges to it becoming a reality? And what are its main concerns going forward?
What personal characteristics do you emphasize in your family? What message do you want your children to project?
If you weren’t a professional football player, what do you think you would be doing?