Cornerback Charles Tillman wants to finish out his career in Chicago, but the veteran also understands the business side of the NFL could prevent that from happening.
A 12-year veteran, Tillman landed on the injured reserve Sept. 15 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn right triceps muscle suffered during the club's Week 2 victory over the San Francisco 49ers. It marked the second consecutive season Tillman finished on injured reserve after tearing his right triceps.
"I would like to continue to play," Tillman said Monday during "The Brandon Marshall Show" on ESPN 1000. "Right now, all I want to do is get healthy before I make a decision to retire or to continue to play. I have every intent of coming back and playing. Really, I just want to focus on getting healthy. That's the main thing I want to do right now."
Would Tillman be willing to sign another deal to return to Chicago, which in 2003 made him a second-round pick?
"I'm willing to play for all 32 organizations, whoever is interested," Tillman said. "That's the business side. Do I love Chicago? Yeah, but at the end of the day, if Chicago didn't want me back and that team wanted me, or this team wanted me, or that team, yeah, I've got to go. They're going to pay my bills. So, sorry."
A two-time Pro Bowler, Tillman signed a one-year deal worth $3.5 million in March to return to the Bears after visiting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during free agency. Tillman started in just eight games in 2013 before finishing on the injured reserve due to the torn triceps, but he forced six takeaways (three interceptions, three forced fumbles) prior to the injury.
Tillman finished the 2014 season with eight tackles and one pass breakup in two games.
Tillman admitted to experiencing difficulty early on in the transition from Lovie Smith to current head coach Marc Trestman, but said he was all-in with the new coaching staff.
"It was a little struggle in the beginning just because there were a bunch of different rules and things like that I wasn't accustomed to," Tillman said. "A friend of mine gave me a book. It's called, "Who Moved My Cheese?" Basically, it's just really about how to get over change. It's a good book. Change is good. So I just figured, 'What the hell?' I need to move, and just accept change. Change is good. At some point in time, we all have to change and evolve. So why not now? It means a lot to me playing for this organization. Being here all 12 years, that's huge. You don't really see that [anymore]. That's old-school. To me, that's like the old-school 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s guy. That era, they just played 10-12 years and they played for one team. You don't see that anymore."
Another transition could be in the works with speculation surfacing recently that defensive coordinator Mel Tucker could be on the way out due to the club's lackluster performance the past two years on defense. Tillman acknowledged the 2014 season has been his most frustrating in the NFL, but gave Tucker a vote of confidence.
"I think he's a good coach," Tillman said. "His ability to coach on the field and make adjustments is good in my opinion. I like what he has to bring. I like what he has to offer."
So what's missing?
"Takeaways, making plays," Tillman said. "At some point in time, too, I don't think it's all coach. We as players, we have to make plays as well. I think there's blame on both sides: blame on players, and blame on coaches. I think we all collectively have to be accountable for what we do and what we don't do."