Free agency is generally a time when fans lament that longtime veterans can't remain with the same team their whole careers.
Then, presumably, those folks are quite happy that cornerback Charles Tillman is coming back to Chicago.
Tillman, whose first 11 seasons in Chicago produced 36 interceptions and an incredible 42 forced fumbles, tested the free-agent market but will return for a 12th season after agreeing to a one-year deal. Tillman, better known by his "Peanut" nickname, is a fan favorite in Chicago and rightfully so. He won the NFL's Walter Payton Man of the Year award this year for his work off the field.
Can Tillman still help the Bears on the field? He missed eight games last year due to injury, a high amount for the normally durable corner (he had missed just six games the previous eight years). He just turned 33, which is generally pretty old for defensive backs. Tillman visited Tampa Bay during free agency, and his old coach Lovie Smith, and the two sides couldn't come to a deal so he came back to the Bears for just one year. That's a sign his value is fading late in his career.
But Tillman should be able to still contribute. He has always had a great knack for being around the ball. If nothing else, Chicago will be happy one of its favorites will be back for at least another year.
- - - - - - -