LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- Even as a rookie, he was never shy. But Charles Tillman was amazed when he was selected with the 36th overall pick in the 2003 draft, the second-rounder out of Louisiana-Lafayette joking in his first words to the Chicago media, "I don't smoke but I feel like I need a cigarette."
Ten NFL seasons later, some things haven't changed. Like his pre-Bears days, when Tillman was considered an obscure name but a top-10 cornerback in a very deep draft class, he's still a highly regarded talent with a relatively low profile.
"He's always been good," said Brian Urlacher, citing Tillman's signature fourth-quarter interception of a Randy Moss pass in the end zone his rookie season, "he just hasn't gotten the recognition. He's been taking the ball away his whole career. There's been some good corners in the NFC so they've kind of overshadowed him, but he's been doing it his whole career."