Tillman Pro Bowl Voting|
November 26th, 2012
Charles Tillman ranks second among NFC cornerbacks in fan balloting for the Pro Bowl with 80,604 votes, trailing only Bears teammate Tim Jennings (116,347).
After making the first Pro Bowl appearance of his career last season, Tillman is bidding to become the first cornerback in Bears history to earn multiple invitations to the annual all-star game.
The only other Bears cornerbacks who’ve been voted to even one Pro Bowl are Allan Ellis (1977), Donnell Woolford (1993) and Nathan Vasher (2005).
Tillman is having an excellent season. He was named NFC defensive player of the month for October after returning interceptions for touchdowns in back-to-back road wins in Dallas and Jacksonville and limiting Lions Pro Bowl receiver Calvin Johnson to three receptions for 34 yards.
In the process, Tillman set a Bears record with eight career defensive touchdowns and tied Woolford for the most interceptions by a cornerback in franchise history with 32.
Tillman then forced a career-high four fumbles Nov. 4 in a win over the Titans, increasing his season total to seven and giving him 36 forced fumbles in his career, the most among NFL defensive backs since he entered the NFL in 2003.
The Rams’ Cortland Finnegan is third in the balloting among NFC cornerback with 80,604 votes, followed by the Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson (57,537) and the Vikings’ Antoine Winfield (52,460). The top three cornerbacks will make the all-star squad.
Pro Bowl voting will continue online and on web-enabled mobile phones via NFL.com/probowl through Monday, Dec. 17. The teams will be announced at 6 p.m. (CT) on Wednesday, Dec. 26 on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access.”
The Pro Bowl will be played on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013, a week before Super Bowl XLVII, and televised live on NBC at 6 p.m. (CT) from Aloha Stadium in Honolulu.
The all-star squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent NFC and AFC. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes Dec. 20-21.
Tillman made an impact in his first Pro Bowl last season, generating plays on both defense and special teams. He registered three tackles and broke up two passes, including a third-down throw by Bengals rookie quarterback Andy Dalton, forcing the AFC to settle for a field goal.
Tillman also recovered an onside kick in the first quarter, leading to a 44-yard touchdown pass from the Packers’ Aaron Rodgers to the Cardinals’ Larry Fitzgerald on the next play.
Later in the first period, the Packers’ Clay Matthews intercepted a pass and lateraled to Tillman, who then pitched the ball to Bears defensive end Julius Peppers.
Tillman and Jennings have already made history this season, becoming the first cornerbacks from the same team to win NFC defensive player of the month awards in back-to-back months.
Jennings was honored after intercepting four passes and deflecting two others that were picked off by teammates in September. He currently leads the NFL with eight interceptions, one of which he returned for his first pro touchdown.
“No tandem is playing better than those two,” said Bears coach Lovie Smith. “More people should be talking about the way those two guys are playing. I’ve never been on a team with two corners that have played that way. Charles Tillman has returned two interceptions for touchdowns and seven forced fumbles, while Tim Jennings has eight interceptions and a touchdown. And it’s not just their pass defense. Both of our corners support the run and will come up and tackle.”
While the 6-2, 198-pound Tillman generally matches up against bigger receivers like Johnson, the 5-8, 185-pound Jennings shadows smaller, quick receivers such as the Panthers’ Steve Smith.
“He has his style; I have my style,” Tillman said. “I think it’s what makes our defense a little bit better than some, especially in years past the way we’re able to match up against different receivers. I definitely think that’s a bonus for us.”