Chicago Bears invite Peanut Tillman to rookie minicamp

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Peanut Tillman shares message for Bears rookies originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Barely a month into his new job as Bears head coach, Matt Eberflus made it clear he wanted to reconnect with former Bears legends. He called or texted around 30 players, including Dick Butkus, Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs and Julius Peppers to start those relationships. The idea wasn’t just to pay respects to the greats, however. Eberflus wanted to connect the past to the future.

On Thursday, Eberflus began building the bridges from former Bears legends to the current players by inviting Charles Tillman to speak before the start of rookie minicamp. For Kyler Gordon, a fellow cornerback, getting to hear from the man who changed the way the position is played was a unique experience. He was happy and thankful for the opportunity to hear from him.

“That was wild,” Kyler Gordon. “We watched him at (Washington) all the time. We always practiced the Peanut Punch and then he walked behind us and I was like, ‘Damn, that’s him!’ That was cool. Just hearing what he said,  it was cool to get the information he was talking about.”

It was meaningful even for the guys who don’t play defense, like Velus Jones, Jr.

“It just shows the passion, especially the passion he played with,” Jones said. “It goes for even the offensive (side of the) ball, the passion you play with, the greatness, the determination. It really fired me up even though he was a defensive-sided guy. Just showing even the history here, what are the standards? That definitely fired me up as a receiver.”

That last part was the key for Eberflus. Helping his young players understand the history of the organization, and to honor the tradition of what it means to play for the Bears.

“To bring those guys back and to relay that message, that foundational core that those guys put together for this franchise is second to none,” Ebeflus said. “Those guys, our new players, young players have to recognize that.

“The message Tillman had was outstanding the other day. Just about being a pro, being a Chicago Bear, and what that means to him and what it means to the fans and what it means to the city. To me, you can’t have enough of that.”

Eberflus would like more of that, too.

“I told Charles, pass the word around. Talk to the guys. As you know, I texted a bunch of guys when I got the job. I’ve talked to several of them. They’re all welcome to come in. We would love to see them. And we’re excited about having guys like that around in the future.”

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