Former Bears cornerback Charles Tillman announced his retirement from the NFL on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) after a decorated 13-year career.
In playing his first 12 seasons with the Bears, Tillman was a major contributor to one of the NFL’s best defenses in the mid- to late 2000s. With the help of his so-called “Peanut punch,” a reference to Tillman’s nickname, he forced 44 career fumbles. The two-time Pro Bowler had 38 career interceptions and eight touchdowns, putting him in the conversation for the best Bears defensive back of all time.
The NFL honored Tillman in 2014 with its Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his achievements on the field and in the community.
A second-round pick in 2003, he finished each of the last three seasons on injured reserve. He tore his right triceps in each of his final two seasons with the Bears. After 12 games for the Panthers last season, he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee and had to watch the team’s run to the Super Bowl.
Tillman, 35, openly discussed continuing his career as recently as last month, telling the Times-Picayune he would only continue his career with the Panthers and that his ideal timetable was joining them toward the end of training camp. However, Panthers coach Ron Rivera indicated around the same time that the Panthers were focused on developing their younger cornerbacks.
Tillman, announced his retirement with a 3-minute, 16-second movie he posted to his Twitter account along with the message, “It’s been real.” In the movie, a creative tribute to his characteristic punch, Tillman goes around swatting everyday objects from the possession of friends and family members. It concludes with him punching out of a time clock.