For all the talk about how different NFL players are taking different approaches to staying in shape during the lockout, Bears cornerback Charles Tillman says there’s simply no substitute for minicamps, organized team activities and training camp.
Tillman doesn’t dismiss the importance of players working out on their own, and he says he’s been working hard over the last few months. But Tillman says there’s a difference between being in shape and being in football shape.
“I don’t care who you are, I think the only way to get in football shape is to do football things with the team,” Tillman said, per Dan Pompei of the Chicago Tribune. “I can run like I’m Forrest Gump from one coast to the next, but if I don’t do drills that pertain to football, I’m not going to be in football shape. The first day back, even guys who have been working out, it will be a little tough for them just because of the pace we go at. It’s so much faster.”
Tillman said he’s doing his best to stay in football shape by doing football-specific drills at a San Diego training facility where several other NFL players are working out as well. But he said even that isn’t quite the same as being with a full roster of teammates and a full staff of coaches at organized team activities.
So players won’t really be in football shape until they can get back to their football teams. And if the lockout lasts long enough that training camps are scrapped, we may see what regular-season games look like with players who aren’t in football shape.