When Chicago Bears legend Charles Tillman spoke to the 2022 draft picks, rookie free agents, and players invited to participate at the Bears’ rookie minicamp on a tryout this week, everyone listened. Second-round pick, cornerback Kyler Gordon, was especially eager to gain wisdom from the best defensive back in Bears history.
“We watched him at U-Dub all the time,” Gordon said via ChicagoBears.com. “We always practiced the ‘Peanut Punch,’ and then he walked behind us [Thursday] and I was like, ‘Damn, that’s him!’ That was cool. Just hearing what he said, it was cool to get the information he was talking about.”
Tillman, like Gordon, entered the NFL as a second-round pick in 2003. He was picked four spots higher than Gordon at No. 35 overall.
Now, it’s up to Gordon to have a career as beloved as Tillman, who will forever be remembered for that patented ‘Peanut Punch.’ Tillman retired as a folk hero in Chicago, a city that he said bleeds Bears’ blue and orange.
“If you work hard for this team, I swear to you this city will love you,” Tillman told the rookies. “This is a Bears town first.”
There’s no doubt Gordon has the work ethic to be great. That, combined with his top-shelf athleticism will give him a chance to be the next great cornerback in Chicago. “I’m ready to put in more work,” he said Friday. “There’s more than just athletic ability at this point. I feel like now I’m just going to keep increasing my knowledge of the game in every way I can.”
Head Coach Matt Eberflus is embracing the history and tradition of the Bears by inviting Tillman and other veterans to help rebuild the once-proud culture in Chicago. It’s already paying off.
“It really fired me up even though he was a defensive-sided guy,” rookie wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. said. “Just showing the history here, what are the standards, that definitely fired me up as a receiver.”