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posted: 10/7/2012 9:29 PM

Tillman's thievery an art form

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  • Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, center, celebrates with teammates defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) and strong safety Major Wright (21) after intercepting a pass and scoring a 36-yard touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla.

      Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, center, celebrates with teammates defensive tackle Henry Melton (69) and strong safety Major Wright (21) after intercepting a pass and scoring a 36-yard touchdown against the Jacksonville Jaguars during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 7, 2012, in Jacksonville, Fla.
    Associated Press

  • Bears cornerback Charles Tillman streaks to the end zone to score a 36-yard touchdown after intercepting a pass Sunday against the Jaguars. Tillman's second pick-6 in two games made him the highest scoring defensive player in Bears history.

      Bears cornerback Charles Tillman streaks to the end zone to score a 36-yard touchdown after intercepting a pass Sunday against the Jaguars. Tillman's second pick-6 in two games made him the highest scoring defensive player in Bears history.
    Associated Press

 
 

Neither of Charles Tillman's touchdown returns after his interceptions the past two weeks have been especially difficult -- at least for him.

But he said Sunday's 36-yard return that made him the highest scoring defensive player in Bears history was easier than six days earlier when he picked off Tony Romo and went 25 yards for a score.

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Kind of.

"It was an easier catch," the 10-year veteran began. "It was a harder catch but an easier catch. Last week it was, 'Is he really throwing me the ball? He can't be throwing me the ball. I'm about to drop this ball. I'm double-clutching the ball. Don't drop the ball. I caught the ball. Oh, I got it. OK score.'

"This week was just normal, I felt like this week's catch was easier."

The pass from Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who had thrown just 1 interception all season, was intended for rookie Justin Blackmon.

"I feel like he underthrew it and I was there," Tillman said.

"I felt like I made a good play on the ball. The defense did a great job of blocking and clearing a path for me."

It was the 32nd interception of Tillman's career and the seventh he's brought back all the way. He's also scored with a fumble recovery, giving him 8 and breaking a tie with safety Mike Brown for most defensive touchdowns in franchise history.

"So I've heard," Tillman said when informed. "But I wish they wouldn't tell me stats and stuff like that. Tell me when I'm old; on the day I retire, about all the stats. It's cool, it's an honor. The Bears go back 200 years, and with all the great players who've come here and what they've done, to be that guy, it's an honor to represent this organization with that."

Tillman played for six years in the same secondary with Brown, and Tillman said he was thinking about his former teammate as he weaved through the Jaguars, picking up blocks along the way.

"I know he's not playing with us anymore, but I learned a great deal from him," Tillman said. "The way he scores and sets up the blocks and he cuts it back. That's the only person I thought about as I was running, Mike B., (the way) he runs it. 'All right, set up the blocks and cut it back.'

"That's who I was thinking about while I was running. That's what he would've done. It worked, I scored, oh cool, (now go) celebrate with your teammates."

On Saturday, Tillman flew to his alma mater to be inducted into the Louisiana-Lafayette Hall of Fame, and Bears coach Lovie Smith would gladly vote for his induction to the Bears' Hall of Fame.

"The guy just does everything you want a cornerback to do," Smith said. "He has great size, plays hard, has good hands, tackles and has an uncanny knack for taking the ball away."

Tillman, who made his first Pro Bowl after last season, has also forced 30 fumbles since he entered the league as a second-round pick in 2003. No other defensive back has more than 21.

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