Wednesday, December 7, 2022

VIDEO: Charles Tillman Is Predictably Awesome In Speech To Bears Rookies


The Chicago Bears have had a somewhat frosty relationship with their alum for the longest time. They used to invite team legends to Halas Hall and Soldier Field all the time. Then somewhere over the past decade, that stopped. Head coach Matt Eberflus made it one of his missions to change that. He wanted to restore the connection between the franchise and its greats, so he began reaching out, asking certain names to come in on tours and make speeches. One of the first was Charles Tillman.

Arguably the best cornerback in Bears history, the man is affectionately known as “Peanut” was part of the last great era of football in this city from 2005 to 2012. He also has experience playing in the type of defense Eberflus plans to install moving forward. So he was a natural choice to speak with the incoming rookie class about what they can expect in this town, what is expected of them, and what it will take to be great.

One overarching theme of his message was daring to be different.

“I’ll share this quote with you. ‘Differences are what make champions. Not similarities.’ Whatever you can do to help this team win, you need to have that mindset right now. If you want to attain and be part of something special, which is what is in this room? You gotta think differently, and that starts right now.”

Charles Tillman kept things as authentic as possible.

He made it clear to the rookies that what they encountered in college would pale in comparison to Sundays. They’re getting ready to play against grown men. If they want to earn respect in this league, they better be prepared to work hard. Dig into that playbook and learn what they have to do on every single snap. It’ll also earn the love and adoration of fans. They aren’t stupid. They can tell which players take this seriously and which ones don’t.

Nobody understands this better than Charles Tillman. He realized that he couldn’t be a traditional cornerback upon getting to the NFL. He didn’t have the speed for coverage as others did. So he adjusted his game, inventing a new style of play that centered around attacking the football after the catch. After 45 forced fumbles in his career, it’s safe to say he made the right decision. Now he’s encouraging the next generation to do the same.

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