In a style all his own, Charles “Peanut” Tillman retired from the NFL Monday.
I know this: Charles had an elite career, playing a dozen years for the Chicago Bears and establishing himself as the storied franchise’s greatest cornerback by consistently rising to the occasion against other-worldly receivers such as Calvin Johnson and Randy Moss and generating turnovers at a dizzying rate oftentimes his famed “Peanut Punch.”
Fittingly, Charles leaves a fist-print on the football field.
But I also know this: Charles will make an even greater impact now that his playing career is over.
For too many athletes, their on-field success – whether it ends in high school, college or however long in the pros – is the pinnacle of their life. Having gotten to know Charles, I can assure you that will not be a part of his narrative.
He has SO much to offer, and the public has seen glimpses of that, from his commitment to his family, his commitment to community, which was celebrated with his selection as the 2013 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year, and his commitment to our youth, which I was honored to be a part of in writing The Middle School Rules of Charles “Peanut” Tillman.
But there’s more to come, and I believe Charles will follow the path of other standout athletes who somehow transcended their remarkable on-field feats with even more remarkable off-field endeavors.
For now, though, we can appreciate his creativity by watching his retirement announcement and how universally loved he was by scanning some of the social media notes and posts from a wide range of figures.
— NFL (@NFL) July 18, 2016
— NFL Network (@nflnetwork) July 18, 2016
— Chicago Bears (@ChicagoBears) July 18, 2016
— Carolina Panthers (@Panthers) July 18, 2016
Charles Tillman is the only NFL player to record 30+ INTs & 40+ FFs (Note: FF data before 1994 is incomplete) pic.twitter.com/KCQg3sfOiF
— Randall Liu (@RLiuNFL) July 19, 2016
— Lance Briggs (@LanceBriggs) July 18, 2016
— Aaron Rodgers (@AaronRodgers12) July 19, 2016
Congrats to one of my all time favorite Bears and an all time great @peanuttillman An amazing career for you my brother.
— DWade (@DwyaneWade) July 19, 2016
— Benjamin Watson (@BenjaminSWatson) July 18, 2016
— Deadspin (@Deadspin) July 18, 2016
— Select Sports Group (@SelectSports) July 18, 2016
— Andrew Welsch (@APWelsch8) July 19, 2016
— Laurence Holmes (@LaurenceWHolmes) July 18, 2016
Congrats on an amazing career on and off the field! https://t.co/ct125ZHexc
— Torrey Smith (@TorreySmithWR) July 19, 2016
— Marc Walker (@detroitmarc) July 19, 2016
— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) July 19, 2016
— Emily Woods (@sandelwoods108) July 19, 2016
Charles Tillman retires as greatest defensive back in Bears' history https://t.co/m99B2Q353W
— Jeff Dickerson (@DickersonESPN) July 19, 2016
My favorite Bear retired today. Congrats on a great career, @peanuttillman !!
— Kaitlin Lynch (@kaitlynch) July 19, 2016
One of the best players ….. but more importantly… one of the best people I ever had the chance to cover https://t.co/mRjqDHCURI
— trey wingo (@wingoz) July 18, 2016
— His HiHoliness (@lowkeyerthanyou) July 19, 2016