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Mr. Charles Anthony Tillman
Copperas Cove, Tx
|July 20, 2016, The Advertiser.
After 13 seasons, former Ragin’ Cajun Charles “Peanut” Tillman has retired from the NFL. A video announcing his retirement was posted on YouTube Monday.
Tillman spent 12 of his 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears, who drafted him in the second round of the NFL draft in 2003. Tillman helped the Bears reach Super Bowl XLI, where they eventually lost to the Indianapolis Colts.
Tillman spent his last season with the Carolina Panthers.
Tillman has been picked for two Pro Bowl teams, and was the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2013.
* * * * * * *
I WAS DRAFTED BY THE CHICAGO BEARS IN THE 2003 NFL DRAFT. I WAS THE 35TH PICK OVERALL. THANKS UL
Tillman by the numbers in Colts 29-17 victory over da Bears (posted 2/4/07)
AN Footnote after viewing the 2007 Super Bowl. Peanut forced one fumble and recovered one. He also was in on eleven tackles. Posted Feb. 4, 2007
Former UL star Tillman talks about nickname
Originally published Feb. 1, 2007
Special to the Advertiser
CHICAGO - Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, despite being occasionally vilified by some Bears fans as being a weak link to the defense, probably has been one of its steadiest performers this season.
What gets his goat the most, though, is that people still aren't sure where his nickname - Peanut - came from. He likes the cartoon characters, but that's not it. He occasionally does get roasted by quarterbacks, but that's not it, either. Let him explain.
1. Are you surprised you aren't more of a player in the peanut advertising market?
No, because I don't really talk about it much. If it happens, it happens.
2. How often do you find yourself actually eating peanuts?
Not too often. I like peanuts, but I don't eat them much. If they're there, they're there.
3. Did you know that the peanut came to the United States from Africa (thanks to the Portuguese, who brought it from Brazil)?
I didn't know that; now if I need to bring that up, like at a party for a useless fact, I've got it.
4. Did you hear the one about the two peanuts on the El platform?
No, what happened?
5. One of them was assaulted - get it?
[Laughs]. Yeah, I get it.
6. If you happen to have a bad game, do you ever think in your head "Oh, here come the headlines: 'Peanut gets shelled' or, 'Peanut gets roasted'?
Oh, I don't worry about that too much. I think I did see the "Peanut gets roasted" line once.
7. They think they're SO clever, don't they?
Yeah, they do.
8. Are you concerned about all of the kids in recent years who have developed peanut allergies?
That's kind of a weird phenomena.
9. Why did your grandma call you Peanut in the first place?
I've been here for four years, and I still get this dumb question. It wasn't my grandma, it was my aunt, Renee.
10. What moved you to get the tattoo of Mr. Peanut?
It was a thing to do in high school. It wasn't peer pressure. I wanted to get it.
11. With which Peanuts character do you most identify?
Probably Linus, because he's got the security blanket with him everywhere.
12. What did you learn from reading "The Strangest Secret" by Earl Nightingale?
That whatever you think, that's what you become.
13. How much of every dollar you earn do you save?
Most of every dollar.
14. Can you envision yourself becoming a motivational speaker?
I don't know. I suppose it's possible.
15. You have listed "The Unit" as a TV show you watch. When you see its star, Dennis Haysbert, don't you think, "There's Cerrano from 'Major League,' or There's President Palmer from '24'? What about 'the guy from Allstate commercials'?
No, man, he's Jonas Blane. I think of him from "The Unit."
16. Either in two years, six years or 10 years: What about Barack Obama as president?
It's possible, I think. I don't know if he's going to run.
17. What's the cutest thing your daughter has done lately?
My mother got her some cowboy boots for Christmas, and watching her wobble around the house has been pretty funny.
18. Should you legally change your middle name to Peanut, so you can sign checks and autographs without adding quote marks?
No, I like my middle name - Anthony.
19. If you're Peanut, why isn't Vasher called "Butter"?
He's already "The Interceptor" because he's got a lot of picks.
20. If Peanut weren't your nickname, what might we call you?
I think we're going to have to stick with Peanut - I've been that for so long.
David Brown is a sportswriter for the Northwest Herald.
Originally published Feb. 1, 2007
Former Cajun in Super Bowl: Tillman soaking it all in
Originally published Jan. 31, 2007
Bears' DB, former Cajun still outspoken
Gary Bartel has coached six players who made it to the Super Bowl. But last Monday was the first time he'd ever gotten a phone call like he got from Charles Tillman.
"It was one day after they beat the Saints," Bartel said, "and he called and said he's got us tickets to the game. I was kind of shocked."
The former UL defensive coordinator, and the man that recruited Tillman to the Cajuns out of Copperas Cove High School in Texas, may have been shocked. But he wasn't surprised.
"I'm still his coach," said Bartel, now the head coach and athletic coordinator at Grand Prairie, Texas, High. "I still chew his butt and stay on him. When we go out to eat, even though he's a millionaire, I'm still gonna pay because I'm the coach."
More and more people are starting to see the Chicago Bears cornerback as more than a rapidly improving cover cornerback, seeing what Ragin' Cajun head coach Rickey Bustle saw the first time he met Tillman in person.
"It's his personality that hits you as much as anything else," said Bustle, who arrived at UL in December of 2001 in time for Tillman's senior season. "I could tell the first time I talked to him that he was very mature, he had his goals in line and knew what he wanted to do."
What the 6-foot-2 Tillman wanted to do was win football games, regardless of whether it was at Copperas Cove, at UL or now with the Bears as they head toward the biggest game of the year, Sunday's Super Bowl XLI in Miami.
"I think we always knew we could be here at the Super Bowl," Tillman told a crowd of reporters Tuesday at Super Bowl media day. "It finally sunk in Sunday. You see all the Super Bowl stickers and we get to the hotel and all the fans and media were there. It actually started sinking in that I'm in the Super Bowl."
Tillman commanded more media interest Tuesday than most recent second-round draft choices (35th overall in the 2003 NFL draft) out of non-high-profile schools. That's because he's known as a "great quote" ... a player that's always talkative and never gives the staid, politically-correct response.
Example: Tillman was asked Tuesday about the Bears' Nov. 26 road loss to the New England Patriots. Chicago didn't lose the rest of the way except for a season-ending loss to Green Bay when the Bears already had the NFC's top seed locked up.
"The error of the past is the wisdom of the future," Tillman said. "I think we figured out the mistakes we made in that game and we learned and we moved on. Look at us now."
"He's always been that way," Bartel said. "Now he's a camera hound ... if there's a camera on, he's going to be in the picture."
"You never knew what he was going to say," Bustle said. "He was like that all the time."
Bustle only got to see him in his senior UL season, during which he had 100 tackles from the left cornerback slot and earned his second All-Sun Belt honor along with All-America status on two different teams.
But Bustle also saw another side of Tillman moments after that 2002 season ended, one that ran contrary to the dreadlocks hair style he was already cultivating and now flows out of his Bears helmet.
After the final game of each season, Bustle lets the seniors address teammates in the locker room before anyone else enters. He still remembers Tillman's sentiments.
"He all of a sudden got very sincere, and you could see how appreciative he was of the people that helped him here," Bustle said. "You saw the sincere side of him, and we'd never seen that because he was always so upbeat. He had a great appreciation for everyone ... that's what I remember more than anything."
The serious side isn't buried too deeply. Earlier this season, Tillman talked at length to a Chicago area writer about a book written by former NFL player John Wright. Wright wrote "212: The Extra Degree" as part of his program of hosting Bears rookies for character development. The book explains how one extra degree of effort can make a difference in people's performance, just as going from 211 to 212 degrees changes hot water to boiling water.
"The extra degree is so huge in your life," Tillman said.
Having athletic ability also helps in your life if you happen to be an NFL player. Tillman was an all-around athlete at Copperas Cove, and was recruited in several positions.
"He was in that famous recruiting category of 'athlete,'" said Bartel, who recruited Texas along with coaching the secondary at UL. "Most schools were recruiting him as a wide receiver, Texas Tech and North Texas, and almost nobody recruited him as a defensive back.
"I went and watched him play basketball against Killeen, which was one of the best teams in Texas and had some absolute trees inside. His team wasn't that good, but he was in there at 6-foot-2 and battled those guys all night. He played with his elbows above the rim and competed his butt off. He fouled out that night, but I knew then he could play defense."
Bartel told Tillman's father that he had NFL potential if he played cornerback, because of his size, physical talents and intelligence for the game.
"That got him fired up," Bartel said. "I didn't know if we could get him or not, but I knew he was pretty special."
Tillman ended up with 284 career tackles, 12 interceptions, 14 fumbles forced or recoveries and three blocked punts in a four-year UL career when he started 39 of 45 games.
"Never missed a practice, never missed a game," Bustle said.
He became part of the Bears' secondary in a hurry, tying for the NFL lead in interceptions by rookies with four in 2003 when he played in all 16 games and started 13. He started seven of eight games in 2004 before missing half the season with a knee injury.
Tillman had 104 tackles and five interceptions, ranking third on the Bears in stops and second in thefts while leading the team in forced fumbles in 2005. But he took some heat that season for some blown coverages, and that was the focus of an intense off-season workout and conditioning program.
"Charles Tillman is undoubtedly the Bears' best cornerback and an ideal fit for the cover-two scheme," said Chicago Tribune writer David Haugh in a nationally-broadcast interview following Chicago's 39-14 win over New Orleans last week. "I suggest Tivo or a VCR so you can watch the game and see his work. Him chasing Marques Colston all over the field took away one of the NFC's best receivers and continued a solid season for him. He worked as hard as any play last off-season.
"If he makes a mistake to lose the Super Bowl, then he can handle the heat, but without him the Bears might not have enjoyed the type of season they did."
Helping his team find success didn't come as a surprise to Bustle or Bartel, the latter of whom is on his way to Miami Saturday courtesy of Tillman's phone call. He and his wife Pat hope to see Tillman Saturday and are planning dinner with Tillman's wife Jackie Saturday night, before heading to Dolphins Stadium Sunday.
"Jack Welch (his prep coach at Copperas Cove) and I pushed him to Lafayette," Bartel said, "but once he got there he fell in love with Pat. She spoiled him rotten. He still calls Pat his white mama. She's why we're getting to go to the Super Bowl."
Watching you watch me
From the time that the Chicago Bears' charter flight touched down at Miami International Airport on Sunday, Charles Tillman has carried a palm-sized video camera virtually everywhere. Tillman is keeping a video diary of the entire Super Bowl experience.
During Tuesday's Media Day, Tillman spent almost as much time recording the media as the media did interviewing and filming him.
Originally published Jan. 31, 2007
Football: Tillman gets victory this time
November 07, 2005 -
Former Cajun part of winning team at Tiger Stadium on Sunday unlike in 2002.
BATON ROUGE - Charles Tillman strode into Tiger Stadium on Sunday, and was struck by the different atmosphere he found.
When he was here in 2002 as a senior at the University of Louisiana, Tillman saw 91,357 hostile LSU fans screaming for the Tigers to send the Ragin' Cajuns packing.
They got their wish as LSU won 48-0.
On Sunday, the third-year cornerback for the Chicago Bears saw just 32,637 fans in the stands.
Most were supporting the ill-fated New Orleans Saints. Some backed the Bears. Still others were Cajuns eager to see Tillman in action in Louisiana once again.
"Yeah," Tillman said, "I remember the last time here. There were a few more people than today, and we got beat.
"It still got loud at times today, though. Once when our offense was on our 2, it was loud. The crowd did a great job making noise. I heard a lot."
When Tillman walked back out of Tiger Stadium a few hours later, that too was different, as the Bears got a 28-yard field goal from Robbie Gould with 6 seconds left to win 20-17 and improve to a surprising 5-3 on the season.
"That means a lot," said Tillman, who had three tackles and an assist. "We control our own destiny, and we're playing good ball right now. But we've got to be smart about it. We can't get too high with these wins, or too low if we lose.
"A lot can happen between now and the playoffs."
Tillman helped set the tone for the NFC North leaders on the Saints' first possession. A second-and-three call from the Bears' 45-yard line found Antowain Smith cutting outside and streaking toward the goal line.
Smith looked like he had a touchdown, but Tillman, who had gone over the middle in pass coverage, chased the running back down at the Chicago 3-yard line. The Saints had to settle for a field goal and the two teams settled into a defensive battle.
It was also Tillman who put the finishing touches on Nate Poole at the end of his 42-yard catch to the Bears' 45 in the third period. New Orleans' Aaron Brooks was sacked one play later and the possession ended in a Saints punt.
"I thought our secondary did a great job in coverage overall," Tillman said. "They really didn't go deep. We had the safety over the top and did a good job covering up. They had a couple of big pass plays, but not any deep throws."
Tillman is one of four defensive backs on Chicago's roster with Bayou State ties, joined by rookie Chris Harris (UL Monroe, 7 tackles, 1 assist), Mike Green (Northwestern State, 4 tackles) and New Orleans product Chris Thompson (Nicholls State, 1 stop).
"That's cool," Tillman said of the connection. "I had 17 requests for tickets."
The player known since his youth as "Peanut" also had several requests for his attention.
"The cool thing is, I saw a lot of UL fans," Tillman said. "They'd call out 'Peanut!' and flash me the UL sign, and I was happy to flash them back. Even if they were pulling for the Saints, it was cool for them to call out to me."
Tillman then finished packing his gear, knowing the Bears were going places when they left Tiger Stadium.
Originally published November 7, 2005
Tillman earns Player of the Week
November 03, 2005 -
Former Cajun recognized for defensive efforts Sunday.
From staff reports
Former Louisiana Ragin' Cajun star Charles Tillman has been named the Defensive Player of the Week in the NFC for his dramatic performance in Sunday's 19-13 overtime victory over the Detroit Lions at Ford Field.
Playing on the road with first place in the NFC North at stake, the third-year cornerback produced the winning score in overtime when he stepped in front of a Jeff Garcia pass and raced 22 yards for a touchdown.
After the Lions had forced a Chicago punt on the Bears' first overtime possession, Detroit faced a third-and-5 at its own 18-yard line. Tillman responded with one of the biggest interceptions of his young career, returning the pick for a game-winning 22-yard touchdown.
Tillman totalled nine tackles on the day and added two pass breakups for a Bears defense that ranks third in the NFL, allowing 262.7 yards per game. The win was the third consecutive victory for the Bears, who at 4-3 are in first place in the division.
Tillman's first Player of the Week award comes as the Bears are preparing to play the New Orleans Saints at 3:05 p.m. next Sunday at LSU's Tiger Stadium.
Other NFC honorees were New York Giants running back Tiki Barber (offense) for his 206-yard rushing day in a 36-0 win over Washington, and San Francisco place kicker Joe Nedney (special teams) for his five field goals in a 15-10 victory over Tampa Bay.
Originally published November 3, 2005
Tillman, 'D' shine
October 23, 2005 - Ex-Cajun corner helping Bears' defense stand out early in season.
LOCAL PRODUCTS IN THE NFL
Ex-Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns
Player, Last Week; Season
QB Jake Delhomme, Panthers, 15-25-3 236 2 TDs; 99-170-8 1336 10 TDs
WR Brandon Stokley, Colts, 4-38-0 receive; 20-213-0 receive
DB C.C. Brown, Texans 7 tackles, 1 assist, 8 total ; 26 tackles, 11 assists, 37 total
DB Charles Tillman, Bears 6 tackles, 1 assist, 7 total, 1 int.; 30 tackles, 3 assist, 2 ints.
DB Ike Taylor, Steelers 4 tackles, 1 assist, 5 total ; 31 tackles, 8 assists, 39 total
It's been almost 20 years since the Chicago Bears were considered Monsters of the Midway, and this year is no different as they carry a 2-3 record into today's home game with Baltimore.
Throw in the first World Series appearance in 46 years for the Chicago White Sox, and it adds up to a low profile for the Bears at this point in the season.
But someone has noticed Chicago's stingy defense.
"Troy Aikman has us ranked No. 1 in defensive efficiency," said cornerback Charles Tillman, a former Louisiana Ragin' Cajun in his third season with his hometown team.
Aikman, who led Dallas to three Super Bowl titles in four years in the 1990's, is now an NFL game analyst with Fox Sports. By his formula, Chicago is No. 1 with a 102.2 rating that is far superior to the Ravens' league-leading 84.2 norm of a year ago.
The Bears have allowed just one touchdown and four field goals (19 points) in 12 trips inside their red zone.
"It's hard to pick anything we do better than another," Tillman said. "I think we're in the top 5 of every category the league has. The defense has been playing great ball. We haven't allowed a rushing touchdown yet.
"We trust the guy next to us to make a play. You have to have that chemistry, that comraderie, to be successful. We're used to the scheme now. We know the defense and we're able to capitalize on that."
Tillman is a big reason for the Bears' success. He is third on the team in tackles with 33, trailing only middle linebacker Brian Urlacher (43) and safety Mike Brown (36), and has interceptions in each of the Bears' last two games.
"The first one came against (Cleveland's) Trent Dilfer," Tillman said. "We were in a cover-3 and my guy ran a post (pattern). I let him go to the safety, and they leaked the back out of the backfield on a 'go' route. Dilfer threw it right to me.
"The second came against (Minnesota's) Daunte Culpepper. The ball was slightly underthrown, and I just got in front of it."
That theft helped the Bears pummel Minnesota 28-3 last week to get within a game of the break-even mark, despite losing starting quarterback Rex Grossman in the exhibition season with a knee injury.
"It didn't put us back pschologically," Tillman said, "but mentally, naturally, we were sad. Last year he got hurt in the second game and missed the season, and this year it happened in the preseason. It's a shame because he worked so hard to come back."
Tillman can identify with Grossman's pain. A knee injury shelved the former Cajun star after eight games of the 2004 campaign after he had posted an 83-tackle, 4-interception rookie year.
Grossman's exit threw rookie Kyle Orton of Purdue into the quarterback job, so the Bears' defense has to step up in support. They allow 272.4 yards per game - 86.4 rushing, 186 passing - and hardly give up a thing inside their 20.
"My season has gone up and gone down," Tillman said. "The Cincinnati game (a 24-7 loss) was one of the bad games I've had in a long time.
"There's something I can learn every day. Just when you think you have the position of cornerback down, you learn something new. (Golfer) Tiger Woods said he can never master his game, and he's darned good.
"There's so much knowledge with the position I play. And, I'm willing to learn from young players, old players and new players."
The best trait - among size, speed and leaping ability - is the ability to forget.
"You definitely need a short-term memory," Tillman said. "It's hard sometimes, but if you don't then that affects your style, technique and effort. It all takes a toll on you."
Lately, it's Charles Tillman and the Bears' defense who have taken a toll on the opposition.
Originally published October 23, 2005
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