They are on the outside looking in at the football goings-on this time of year but that doesnt mean the Bears are going unrecognized.
Cornerback Charles Tillman was selected not only to the first Pro Bowl of his career, but he also is one of the three finalists for the prestigious NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award that will be presented on the Saturday of Super Bowl week in Indianapolis.
Tillmans competition are San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk.
Walter himself won the award in 1977 when it was the Man of the Year award. The league renamed the award after Paytons death in 1999. Previous Bears winners have been the late Dave Duerson, Mike Singletary and Jim Flanigan, who shared the award with Tampa Bay linebacker Derrick Brooks in 2000.
The Payton MOY is the only NFL award that recognizes a player for his community service activities as well as excellence on the field.
Joining Tillman in Hawaii will be Julius Peppers after the league named the defensive end to replace Jason Pierre-Paul, who is in the Super Bowl with the New York Giants.
For Peppers this will be seven Pro Bowls and the first time since Richard Dent in 1984-85 that a Bears defensive end has gone in consecutive years.
Indications remain that running back Matt Forte will be making the trip to play, his sprained knee having checked out satisfactorily since the conclusion of the season. Forte is still without a contract.