Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, one of the three finalists for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award to be announced Saturday, enjoyed his first-ever trip to the Pro Bowl. He hung out with his family and took it easy off and on the field, just like the vast majority of players on the AFC and NFC squads.
It was one of those great Griswold family vacations in Hawaii, Tillman said, with reference to the Chevy Chase movie classic about a family vacation. It was an experience. I definitely had a blast and look forward to going to more. Every player should experience it at least one time with your family.
And as far as the game itself, Tillman was a teeny bit sheepish. The hitting was minimal, putting the Pro Bowl alongside the NHL and NBA all-star games. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers went so far to say that some players embarrassed themselves with the pulled punches.
Even New England head coach Bill Belichick wasnt saying it was a hard-played event. What Im going to say wouldnt be probably what I should say, Belichick began, which of course served to get the attention of everyone in the room. What it was and what it used to be are different.
No argument there. Tillman was honest about it.
Certain plays definitely looked bad, he agreed. We could have played a little bit harder than what we were playing. Ill admit no ones going out there to play like a playoff game in that playoff atmosphere.
But WE, and Ill say we, could have played harder on certain plays. We took off on a few plays.
Tillman was drafted in 2003 by Jerry Angelo, fired last month as general manager. Tillman was sorry to see him leave but understands how the operation and business work.
I was one of Jerrys kids," Tillman said. "Not to be funny but I was one of the guys Jerry drafted so from that standpoint I got a contract through him. He was good on his words with myself. What George McCaskey or Ted Phillips do upstairs, thats what they get paid to do.
Its a business, its a process, and Im sure one day I might get cut before I retire. So Im sure he didnt take it personal.
Check back for more on Tillmans Payton MOY status.