Since his rookie season in 2003, many around the NFL have felt Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman has been consistently passed over for Pro Bowl consideration. Year after year, Tillman puts together solid seasons, yet he’s never been invited to Hawaii.
Until this year.
The NFL announced its official 2010 Pro Bowl roster this evening and Tillman is one of five Bears players selected. He joins Lance Briggs, Brian Urlacher, Corey Graham and Matt Forte as Chicago’s representatives this season. The five selections are the most for the organization since eight were named following the 2006 season.
Tillman is the first Bears cornerback to be named to named to the Pro Bowl since Nathan Vasher following the 2005 season.The ninth-year veteran ranks third on the team with a career-high 107 tackles. Tillman leads the team in pass break ups (11) and is tied for the team lead in forced fumbles (three) and fumble recoveries (two) while adding two interceptions and an interception return touchdown. Since entering the NFL in 2003, Tillman leads all defensive backs with 27 forced fumbles and his 29 interceptions is tied for ninth in the NFL overall during that time.
This is the seventh consecutive Pro Bowl nod for Briggs (2005-11 seasons). He is just the fourth linebacker in franchise history to be selected to seven straight Pro Bowls joining Hall of Famers Dick Butkus (eight straight), Bill George (eight) and Mike Singletary (ten). He is the ninth player overall to be voted to seven Pro Bowls as a member of the Bears organization and the seventh to be selected seven years in-a-row. In 2011, Briggs paces the team with 140 tackles and is tied for the team lead with eight tackles for losses to go along with one interception and two forced fumbles.
Forte was selected to his first Pro Bowl and is the first Bears running back to be named to the Pro Bowl since Neal Anderson following the 1991 season. Prior to missing the last three contests with a knee injury, Forté led the NFL in yards from scrimmage (1,487), ranked third in the league in rushing yards (997) and ranked fourth among all running backs with 490 yards receiving. His 4.9 rushing average in 2011 is a career high and sixth among NFL running backs with at least 150 rushing attempts this season.
Graham was named to his first Pro Bowl and is the eighth Pro Bowl selection by a Bears special teams player under Special Teams Coordinator Dave Toub: KR Devin Hester (2006-07, ’10), KR Johnny Knox (2009), ST Brendon Ayanbadejo (2006 and 2007) and K Robbie Gould (2006). Graham leads the Bears with 20 special teams tackles after coaches’ review this season. Since entering the NFL in 2007, Graham ranks tied for second in the NFL with 74 special teams tackles, based on press box statistics. Graham plays on five of the Bears six special teams units (punt coverage, kickoff coverage, punt returns, kickoff returns and field goal blocks).The Bears punt return coverage unit ranks second in the NFL this season allowing just 5.4 yards per return.
Urlacher was named to his eighth Pro Bowl (2000-03, 2005-06 & 2010 seasons). He is the sixth player in team history to be voted to eight Pro Bowls as a member of the Bears organization. This season, Urlacher is second on the Bears with 125 tackles and third with seven tackles for losses. He is tied for the team lead with three interceptions and two fumble recoveries and has added a fumble return touchdown.
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Jeremy Stoltz is Publisher of BearReport.com and a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. To read him every day, visit BearReport.com and become a Chicago Bears insider.