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Charles Tillman supported by Chicago Bears over birth

  • By Kevin Patra NFL.com
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If Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman misses Sunday night's matchup with the Houston Texans in order to be with his wife during their daughter's birth, that's perfectly fine with his teammates.

"It's take care of your family. We understand how things are run around here," wide receiver Brandon Marshall told the Chicago Sun-Times. "This is a special group. Coach (Lovie) Smith is a special guy, definitely in how he runs things, and -- you take on the character of your leader. That's what he preaches -- family comes first."

Tillman told WSCR-AM on Wednesday morning that he wouldn't play if his wife went into labor before the game. After practice, Tillman reiterated his plan to be there when his little peanut is born.

"At the end of the day, (family is) all that you have," Tillman said. "This game is important to me, but after what we went through with my middle child, Tiana, (who was diagnosed with a rare heart disease), to me football is second. It'll always be second or third in my life. That was a great lesson learned, to teach me that family -- when I'm done playing football -- my family will always be there for me."

Tillman has been the most dynamic cornerback in the NFL this season and finally is getting noticed after being a shutdown corner in Chicago for the past several seasons (ask Megatron). Tillman's potential decision to miss the game has spawned debate over if NFL players have a duty to be on the field given their condensed schedule of just 16 games.

Former Pro Bowl cornerback Eric Davis pointed out on "NFL AM" that the Bears don't play a scheme that is reliant on Tillman to be successful -- even if he is an important piece.

Tillman said he'd be at the game if his wife gives birth early Sunday morning, but the Bears aren't worried about one game.

"It's family first," Smith said. "If there is something you feel like you need to do for your family, always do that. How we look at it is like an injury. If a player can't go, it's next guy up. We'll keep going."

Follow Kevin Patra on Twitter @kpatra.

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