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Tillman chosen captain of All-Fundamentals Team
January 22nd, 2013

Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, prolanthropyBears cornerback Charles Tillman has been named the defensive captain for USA Football’s 2012 All-Fundamentals Team following a national fan vote conducted Jan. 7-21.

The fourth annual USA Football All-Fundamentals Team recognizes 26 NFL players who exhibit exemplary football techniques for youth players to emulate. The organization believes that playing fundamentally-sound football fosters better on-field performance and inherent safety benefits.

More than 10,000 fan votes were cast on USA Football’s Facebook page to determine the team’s three captains, one for each phase of the game. Joining Tillman (defense) as captains are Colts receiver Reggie Wayne (offense) and Browns kicker Phil Dawson (special teams).

Tillman earned the honor by garnering more votes than defensive ends Chris Long (Rams) and J.J. Watt (Texans); tackles Haloti Ngata (Ravens) and Vince Wilfork (Patriots); linebackers London Fletcher (Redskins), Chad Greenway (Vikings) and Aldon Smith (49ers); cornerback Champ Bailey (Broncos); and safeties Thomas DeCoud (Falcons) and Earl Thomas (Seahawks).

By being voted a captain, Tillman will receive an equipment grant valued at $3,000 from USA Football to donate to the youth or high school football program of his choice. Equipment grants are fulfilled by USA Football partners Rawlings and Riddell. USA Football is the official youth football development partners of the NFL and all 32 of its teams.

“Football never stands still, yet fundamentals are timeless,” said USA Football chairman Carl Peterson, a longtime NFL executive who helped select the team. “Charles has demonstrated extraordinary fundamentals throughout his career. We’re proud to recognize him as an All-Fundamentals Team captain.”

Tillman enjoyed a career year in 2012; he was named first-team All Pro and was voted to his second straight Pro Bowl. The Bears cornerback tied for the NFL lead with three interception return touchdowns and topped the league with a career-high 10 forced fumbles, tied for the most in a single season since the NFL started tracking the statistic in 1991.

In the process, Tillman increased his career total to 39 forced fumbles, the most by any player since he entered the league in 2003. The next six players on the list are all pass-rush specialists: the Colts’ Robert Mathis with 38; the Falcons’ John Abraham and the Colts’ Dwight Freeney with 35; and the Bears’ Julius Peppers, the Giants’ Osi Umenyiora and the Cowboys’ DeMarcus Ware with 32.

Tillman also set all-time Bears records in 2012 for defensive touchdowns with nine and interceptions by a cornerback with 33, the third most overall in franchise history behind safeties Gary Fencik (38) and Richie Petitbon (37).

In originally naming Tillman to the All-Fundamentals Team, USA Football wrote that he “possesses strong fundamentals in both pass coverage and tackling. His ability to break on the ball makes it difficult for quarterbacks to find windows in which to throw to receivers. He also has the ability to secure tackles while simultaneously stripping the football from the ball-carrier.” 

USA Football has educated more than 100,000 youth football coaches in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. through its online courses and single-day coaching clinics. Approximately three million American children ages 6-14 play organized tackle football, placing it among the country’s most popular youth sports.

USA Football recommends national standards for America’s youth football community. As the sport’s national governing body, USA Football hosts dozens of annual training events offering education for coaches, skill development for players and resources for league commissioners.

USA Football manages U.S. national teams within the sport for international competition and awards $1 million annually in equipment grants to youth and high school football programs.