COMMENTARY | The only way Charles Tillman can suit up for the Chicago Bears again this season is if they make the playoffs. In other words, he probably won't be suiting up for the Bears again this season.
The team just placed Peanut on the Injured Reserve with designation to return, which each team can use on one player per season. That means he can't practice for at least six weeks and can't return to game action for eight weeks.
This follows the less-devastating news that Jay Cutler is week-to-week after suffering the ever-more-popular, yet no less enigmatic, high ankle sprain on Sunday. I had written an earlier article claiming that Cutler's groin injury was the team's most significant loss, but McCown's play thus far proved me wrong. And it has already been announced that Josh McCown will start next week's game vs. the Baltimore Ravens.
But as Marc Trestman's offensive system continued to impress, regardless of who was under center, the defense has fallen short. Three Bears defenders were already on the IR and Lance Briggs still isn't ready to return from a bum shoulder. With so many injuries to the heart of the defense, Bears cornerbacks were being called on more than ever to step up and make plays.
And Peanut Tillman is more than just a good cover corner; he's got super powers. Even the strongest grip on the ball is no match for the stealth and strength of a well-timed Peanut Punch. Early in the game against the Detroit Lions, as Matthew Stafford zipped a speeding bullet that was aimed right at the waiting hands of Calvin Johnson, Tillman laid out and flew faster to bat the ball down.
So how do you replace a play-making superhero cornerback? Simple: you don't. Isaiah Frey will likely get the starting nod, but he's got some enormously large cleats to fill. And given the lack of pressure opposing QBs have seen from the Bears this season, Frey might as well paint a target over his #31.
Perhaps the most jarring effect of this injury is that it may mean that Bears fans have seen the last of Charles Tillman in Chicago. The 32-year-old defensive cornerstone is his 11th season with the Bears, and the last of his current contract. And could there be a more anti-climactic end to a storied career?
Losing Brian Urlacher stung, but at least fans didn't have to face the indignity of seeing him suit up in a different uniform. If Peanut writes a chapter with another team next season, it'll add insult to the injury.
Evan Altman is a freelance sportswriter with a wealth of trivial pop culture knowledge. He grew up in Northwest Indiana, where the Bears reign supreme. While he now lives in the heart of Colts country, you can hear his kids singing "Bear Down, Chicago Bears" every gameday.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Charles Tillman
- Chicago Bears