Panthers were close to Charles Tillman’s heart, at several levels


After spending his entire career in Chicago, it wasn’t easy for Charles Tillman to move.

But in coming to Charlotte, Tillman almost feels at home.

Tillman said signing with the Panthers was an easy choice for a number of factors, not the least of which were the personal bonds he has with many of the people there.

His familiarity with coach Ron Rivera was significant, but far from the only relationship he built over the years.

Via Bill Voth of Black and Blue Review, Tillman said that defensive backs coach Steve Wilks was one of his closest confidantes when his daughter Tiana was having heart problems which ultimately led to a transplant.

“He was someone I would lean on and call and get advice. We cried together. It was a rough time,” Tillman said. “He was more than a coach for me during that time. He was a friend, a mentor, big brother, and I’m very grateful for that.”

That’s similar to the role Tillman holds with Panthers tight end Greg Olsen, whose young son had to undergo multiple heart procedures as well, giving the two more than a shared time with the Bears in common.

“That was one of the first things my wife and I thought about: We’ve got to make this move, but I’ve got to find good doctors. We’ve got good doctors here, but I know they have great doctors in Carolina as well,” Tillman said. “They’ve been on it. His wife and mine have been texting all day.”

And as daunting as making a late-career move can be, having that kind of support structure in place is going to make it easier for Tillman, at a number of levels.

13 responses to “Panthers were close to Charles Tillman’s heart, at several levels

  1. Bears fan here. His experience and leadership would have been extremely valuable as the defense (and particularly the D-Backfield) begins to rebuild, but Pace and Fox apparently aren’t in the business of keeping guys around just for that. I hope he has a great season for the Panthers. They are lucky to have him.

  2. So glad to have him in Carolina. His experience and leadership will really help the younger backs. It’s good to see how all the Bears fans felt about him. Looks like we got a great player!

  3. Love peanut. My pops is a Bears fan, and I always clown other people’s teams and players…but I secretly always wished peanut was a niner. Dude wrecks havoc.

  4. Class act, great player, one of the most underrated CB ever (2 pro-bowls only? you must be kidding!), I have been saying over and over that Chicago should have resigned him. I am not changing my opinion on Pace’s excellent work so far, but this is a decision I strongly disagree with. Good luck Peanut, you deserve one more chance and the Panthers can give you that. The folks in Charlotte will get to know a fine human being and true leader. You will be missed in Chicago, but I am sure you will retire as a Bear and be forever remembered as a great, true Bear (by the way: this is also how I remember Ron Rivera).

  5. Carolina makes sense for him and after reading this I’m happy that Charles will have the support group he needs. Always tough I’m sure to change teams so late in a career. As other say, he deserves to go out the way that’s right for him. He’ll always be a Bear at heart and all the attributes he brings will surely be an asset to his new team.

    Enjoy Peanut – and the Peanut Punch – Panther fans!

  6. Didn’t Tillman beat out Thomas Davis for Man of the Year the year before last? He’ll be a great asset not just for the team, but the community. I hope he has at least 1 more Pro Bowl season left in him.

  7. Great individual and a has had a stellar career in Chicago. You deserve nothing but the best of luck Peanut.

  8. One of the most underrated players I’ve seen, And the best ball stripper I’ve ever seen. Wish him all the best.

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