Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman would choose family over football if forced to make a decision Sunday.
Tillman told WSCR 670-AM in Chicago that he would miss the game against the Houston Texans to be with his wife if she goes into labor.
"The wife is due any day, so hopefully this baby can stay in until after the game on Sunday," he told the radio station. "I hope she stays in -- I'm having another girl. Monday, for sure, but if she comes Sunday, I think I'm going to have to be at the hospital Sunday. So, I hope she stays in until after Sunday."
According to multiple media reports, Tillman and his wife have three children, one of whom required a heart transplant shortly after her birth in 2008.
"At the end of the day, that's all you have (family)," Tillman said, according to ESPNChicago.com. "This game is important to me, but after what we went through with my middle child (Tiana), to me football will always be second or third in my life. That was a great lesson learned to teach me that when I'm done playing football my family will still always be there for me."
Tillman forced four fumbles Sunday in a win over the Tennessee Titans, raising his season total to seven forced fumbles. He also has two interceptions, both of which he has returned for touchdowns. Tillman was selected the NFC Defensive Player of the Month for October.
Tillman's teammates weren't trying to talk Tillman out of his family-first stance.
"You take on the character of your leader and coach (Lovie) Smith," wide receiver Brandon Marshall told reporters. "Since Day One, in my own personal business, he's always preached family first, so whether I had to go out of town in (organized team activities) to visit a family member or do something with family, it's no argument. It's, 'Take care of your family.'"
Linebacker Brian Urlacher told ESPNChicago.com, "Why would he miss the game? Oh, his baby? Then we won't have him. Our backups are pretty good."
The Sunday night game at Soldier Field features teams with two of the three best records in the NFL. Both the Bears and the Texans are 7-1. Only the Atlanta Falcons (8-0) have a better mark.