Don’t tell Charles Tillman that 30 is old

Professional athletes frequently use slights in the media as motivation, and sometimes when they haven’t been slighted at all, they’ll find something to perceive as a slight, just to fire themselves up. And then there’s Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who got himself worked up about an insult that was in no way insulting.

It started in April, when Tillman noticed a Chicago Tribune story by Dan Pompei ranking the top cornerback prospects in the NFL draft. At the end of the story, Pompei briefly noted that the Bears might want to consider adding a cornerback.

Charles Tillman, the Bears’ best, is 30,” Pompei wrote. “Now might be the time to draft his successor.”

You’d have to twist yourself up like a contortionist to find a viewpoint in which those comments are an insult: Pompei called Tillman the Bears’ best cornerback while making a factually correct statement about Tillman’s age. That’s not an insult.

But finding it insulting is exactly what Tillman did. In an interview with WSCR in Chicago, Tillman said he’s using the “insult” as motivation.

“I feel like that was a call out,” Tillman said. “I think everyone should get motivated when someone calls them out. That’s why we play this game. We’re competitive. When someone says I can’t do something or I’m too old to do something, it fires me up. I think it’s a good thing. Well let me show you how old I am. I like motivation. It fuels you. It gives you something to work for.”

Tillman also decided to make things personal with Pompei.

“Dan called me old today with his old ass,” Tillman said. “He tried to call me old man. He wrote an article a couple of months back that myself, Brian Urlacher and Olin Kreutz are old. He’s old. You ever see his picture in the paper? He uses the young picture from like 20 years ago. But when you see him in person, he got all that gray and black, the salt and pepper face.”

In today’s Tribune, Pompei responded, saying he’s glad to have given Tillman something to motivate himself through offseason workouts.

“I know that without coaches around to poke you and keep you on course during the lockout, you could use a little prodding from outside sources,” Pompei wrote. “Maybe all Bears fans will be thanking me if it makes you a better player.”

But if Pompei wants Tillman to thank him, he’d be wise not to hold his breath.

12 responses to “Don’t tell Charles Tillman that 30 is old

  1. what a sensitive guy. Ever WR he covers should just say “I’m going to use you old man” then blow right by him

  2. Maybe he misunderstood whoever read the article to him…we should blame the reader, not Tillman. We all know he can’t read.

  3. LMAO…If 30 is “old” and time to consider being replaced, I am in deep crap and wayyyyyyy past time to be replaced.
    Seriously, a 30 year old in the NFL is at the age where consideration of his replacement is warranted.

  4. 30 is almost always “old” for a RB, but not a DB. Look at Champ, Sharper, Deion, Darrell Green…

  5. Except for the Packers, the North is full of the most sensitive folks ever…

    The guy is 30… After 30, players are more likely to get hurt wanna get one last pay day and well… Some just start getting attitudes and want to reminisce about what they’ve done..

    Would have liked to have seen this kinda fire in Tillman in the championship game. I guess he’s all tanned and rested from the championship beat down in his backyard and is looking for a physical challenge he can deal with.

    Its just kinda pathetic it’s a beat writer.

  6. Don’t tell him what? I’m so old that I can’t even remember 30. But I’ll still play if the honchos decide to field scabs in September. And win. Booya!

  7. Well to put “30” into perspective…

    – It is old to people who are younger than 30.
    – It is young to people older than 30.
    – It is the number of children Antonio Cromartie
    can not remember the names of.

  8. lucky5934, you got me in trouble on a conference call. I started laughing out loud and everyone wanted to know what was so funny. But it was worth the laugh–so thanks!

  9. He’s just still mad that of the 13 starters that came out of the great CB class of the 03 Draft …he’s only considered a solid starter. Also, how he has been overshadowed in the NFL by his less heralded teammate coming out of college, Ike “Swaggin” Taylor who went on to become a shutdown corner! lol

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