Now that Charles Tillman is officially a member of the Carolina Panthers, Matt Forte is the only player left in Chicago who was drafted by Jerry Angelo.
Following the departures of Lance Briggs and Roberto Garza, Tillman is just the latest Bears player to move on after a busy offseason.
After a not-so-clean divorce with Brian Urlacher – Briggs, Garza, and Tillman were the last strong ties to the Lovie Smith era in Chicago. All three had lengthy and productive careers for the Bears, and all three were a part of the 2006-2007 team that went to the Super Bowl.
With Tillman moving on, the only remaining player from the best Bears team since Mike Ditka is their kicker, Robbie Gould.
Other than Gould, Forte and Jay Cutler – every single player on the Bears has been acquired one way or another in the last four years.
While Briggs and Garza’s exits were significant, Tillman’s is the ultimate signal of the widespread turnover that has occurred in recent years.
More than anybody, it seemed Tillman was the one player Bears fans wanted to hang onto the longest. No matter which head coach or GM was in charge, Peanut always adapted and played the role his team needed him to fill.
We thought he would mentor the young corners, and provide cheap insurance. For the most part, that’s what he did. During the two eventful years of Marc Trestman, Charles Tillman was fairly productive when he was healthy.
It only took rookie Kyle Fuller about two games to start copying Tillman’s trademark right hook that caused so many fumbles over the years.
Just three years ago, Charles Tillman reached his career peak with a second consecutive Pro Bowl after the 2012 season. That season, the first under now former GM Phil Emery, proved to be fateful in many ways.
For better or worse, a lot has changed at Halas Hall in a relatively short period.
Through it all, Charles Tillman was the one constant we never thought would have to leave. He stayed on after the transition from Smith to Trestman, and the shift from Angelo to Emery.
He didn’t quite make it to Ryan Pace and John Fox, which is a strong indication of how different things will be in Chicago next season.
Eventually, the Bears would have to move on from the ultra-popular cornerback. And now that they have, there’s only one thing left to say.
Farewell, Charles Tillman.
It’s been real.
(Tillman image from Wikipedia)