Bears Legend Sends Strong Message on Team’s New Regime

Charles Tillman

Getty Former Bears cornerback Charles Tillman had some strong words of advice for the team's rookies.

Charles “Peanut” Tillman became a Chicago Bears legend when he played defensive back for the team from 2003-14.

He finished fourth in team history in solo tackles (754), third in interceptions (36), first in passes defensed (133), first in defensive scores (8) and his 44 forced fumbles not only lead the franchise all-time, but were more than any other defensive back in the league amassed during that span.

In an encouraging turn, new Bears head coach Matt Eberflus invited Tillman in to speak to the team’s rookies during minicamp, and the retired cornerback had some strong words of advice for Chicago’s young players. After his meeting, Tillman also made a telling comment on Twitter about the team’s new regime.

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Tillman Has Strong Advice for Bears Rookies

“You went from playing with boys,” Tillman told a room full of young Bears players, per the team’s official website. “Now y’all playing with men.”

When speaking to the team, the former cornerback placed emphasis on the importance of hard work, going the extra mile and understanding positional assignments.

“That’s one piece of advice that I would give you all right now: Learn your playbook; know what everybody does,” Tillman noted, adding: “If you work hard for this team, I swear to you this city will love you. This is a Bears town first. This city bleeds blue and orange for the Chicago Bears.”

He also gave the youngsters pointers on how to perform his famed “Peanut Punch.”

ESPN’s Courtney Cronin noted after the team’s rookie minicamp practice on May 6 Chicago’s defensive backs were “taking the meeting they had with Peanut Tillman to heart:”

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Former Regime Criticized for Not Getting Advice From Team Legends

Previous general manager Ryan Pace and former head coach Matt Nagy were both criticized by multiple retired Bears players, including Tillman and Jerry Azumah, for not utilizing the team’s strong alumni base more.

Eberflus seems to be going the opposite route — and it’s proven a popular way to go.

Bears Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton’s son Jarrett tweeted he loved seeing the new regime bringing Tillman in to mentor young players — and Tillman responded with a strong commentary of his own:

It’s clear the players also enjoyed having Tillman around. 

“We watched him at U-Dub all the time,” Bears second-round cornerback Kyler Gordon said after Tillman’s visit. “We always practiced the ‘Peanut Punch,’ and then he walked behind us and I was like, ‘Damn, that’s him!’ That was cool. Just hearing what he said, it was cool to get the information he was talking about.”

“(It was) just about being a pro and being a Chicago Bear and what that means to him and what it means to the fans and what it means to the city,” Eberflus said about Tillman. “To me, you can’t have enough of that. I told Charles, pass the word around. Talk to the guys. As you know, I texted a bunch of (former players) when I got the job. I’ve talked to several of them. They’re all welcome to come in. We would love to see them.”

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