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Bears' Tillman We're not in a rebuild mode
July 18th, 2013

Charles Tillman feels a sense of urgency to win a Super Bowl with the Bears this season.

The 11-year veteran Pro Bowl cornerback is in the last year of his contract and he realizes this might be his last opportunity to win a title.

“My goal coming into this league was to play 10 years. Anything after that was truly a bonus,” Tillman told the Tribune on Wednesday. “I’m happy with my career. I am happy with what I have done in the great city of Chicago. Is this my last year? I don’t think so. Maybe after the year I will evaluate my options with the Bears and with other teams and how my body feels ... if I still want to play.

“If I want to leave to play for another team ... there are a lot of things that play into it. Do I want to retire? I will have some decisions that I will have to make at the end of the season. But as far as right now, I can make all of those decisions in February.”

Tillman, 32, says he is eager to play for new head coach Marc Trestman and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker when training camp opens next week in Bourbonnais.

“The mantra on defense is still the same: Make plays and create turnovers,” Tillman said. “That attitude has not changed. Coach Tucker and the rest of the defensive coaches … they know about the legacy of the Bears defense. I think they want to uphold that legacy still. I don’t think they want it to die on their watch.

“They are highly-competitive coaches and I think they will use their tools to help tweak areas of weakness in our defense that they feel we can be an even more dominant defense.”Other than the pressing desire to win a Super Bowl, Tillman says he is approaching this season just like any other.

“Just to make plays and help this team win and try to get us a parade down Michigan Avenue ... that’s the mindset that I have, whether this is my last year or whether I have three years left on my contract,” he said . “It’s all the same. We just want to win a Super Bowl. At the end of the day, that’s what it is about.

“That’s how I am approaching this season. (General manager) Phil Emery made the decision to hire a new coach so this coach could take us in the direction. My role as a player is to buy into that system and do whatever I can to help this team to win a Super Bowl.

"I think myself and the rest of the players have bought into Coach Trestman’s scheme and his system and we want to win and we want to win now. We’re not in a rebuild mode. We don’t have time to rebuild. We’re in the winning now business. The win RIGHT now business.”

Tillman had three interceptions and forced 10 fumbles last season, most notably with his patented ball-punch maneuver. For his career, he has 33 interceptions and 39 forced fumbles.

“If you’re on offense and you’re a ball carrier and you are just worried about me, then that gives 10 other guys the chance to knock the ball away,” Tillman said. “So if teams are focusing on me all of the time as just one individual … I guess I would view that as a compliment. It’s cool.”

Tillman has made his reputation in Chicago not only as a dynamic Bears player, but also as a willing community servant. His Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation assists families dealing with critical illnesses such as his youngest daughter Tiana, who was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy and underwent a heart transplant in 2008.

He is now connected with Allstate’s “Give it up for Good” campaign that acknowledges the random acts of kindness shown by everyday individuals.

“We want to highlight the unsung heroes. There are so many people who do good in their communities, but they don’t have a voice or a platform like I do. I want them to get recognized,” Tillman said.

Tillman is approaching this project with the same sense of urgency as he is the 2013 Bears season.

“Right now they are my team; they are the ones that employ me and pay my bills,” he said of the Bears.

“So I am just focused on my organization right now.”

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