For the second year in a row, Charles Tillman is the Chicago Bears nominee for the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award. Tillman was one of three finalists last year along with San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and Baltimore Ravens center Matt Birk.
The Walter Payton award is a unique honor for players. It is the only NFL award that recognizes a player for his community service activities as well as his excellence on the field.
This is a fitting nomination for Tillman. Not only is he a leader on the field, but his off the field contributions are second-to-none. In 2005, Tillman started the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation to provide opportunities and resources to children and their families who are in need. His foundation has helped over one million Chicago-area children and has raised much more than that.
The week before Christmas, this year, Tillman visited the Rush Children’s Hospital in Chicago and passed out gifts, took pictures and played video games with many of the sick children. Tillman is no stranger to sick children. In 2008, his daughter, Tiana, was diagnosed with a dilated cardiomyopathy and needed a heart transplant to survive. Luckily, Tiana was able to get that transplant and is doing much better.
Tillman deserves this nomination and should be in the running to be a finalist again this year. He is not just a Pro Bowler on the field, but off the field as well.