NEW YORK -- Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman has accomplished a great deal on the field during his 11 NFL seasons. On Saturday, he was rewarded for his even greater achievements off the field.
Tillman, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, was announced as the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year at "NFL Honors" on Saturday. A finalist for the award in 2011 and the winner of the NFL Salute to Service Award in 2012, Tillman has impacted countless people in the Chicago area through his Cornerstone Foundation.
Some examples: Tillman's Foundation provides pediatric hospital patients with access to iPads, laptops, gaming systems and other kinds of entertainment to help pass the time during their hospital stays and annually reaches more than 370,000 children. His fund has also distributed more than $1 million to over 300 families who have been identified by local organizations as at-risk or in need. The support is provided to families and individuals to strengthen their ability to care for themselves.
Tillman and his wife Jackie also have helped build a school in Cambodia, sponsored children through the Urban Promise program in Camden, N.J., and have purchased and donated more than 700 tickets to Bears home games since 2008 through the Bears' Home Team Hand-Off program. Tillman also has participated in a USO tour to Iraq, volunteered with the USO of Illinois on Thanksgiving to serve meals to local troops and provided soldiers with tickets to games at Soldier Field during the 2013 season.
Tillman is fifth in the NFL in interceptions since he entered the league, but that seems minor to everything else he's done in his life. This is the award that annually makes me feel like less of a man because the winners are so giving of their time and energy. We salute Tillman and the other finalists, Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely and Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis, for all their contributions.