Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman checked in at No. 66 in our NFLRank project, which kicked off Day 4 on Thursday with ESPN ranking the Top 100 players around the league on both sides of the ball.
The latest rankings grouped players between Nos. 70 through 61. Bears tight end Martellus Bennett made the list on Tuesday with a No. 82 ranking, while defensive end Lamarr Houston became the club’s first defender to crack the top 100 (No. 80)
Tillman’s 42 forced fumbles is tops by a defensive back in NFL history. Tillman has forced at least three fumbles in seven consecutive seasons, which ties as the longest such streak in NFL history, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Playing on a one-year contract signed back in March, Tillman, 33, could be entering his last season with the Bears. They signed Tim Jennings to an extension during the offseason and used a first-round pick to bring in Kyle Fuller.
“Charles is one of the NFL’s great players and a true leader on and off the field, and we’re happy he will be staying in Chicago,” Bears general manager Phil Emery said after Tillman re-signed. “He remains the best in our game at forcing turnovers and always has brought a tough, physical presence to our secondary. Charles also has a special connection to the people and community across Chicago, and we’re excited for that to continue.”
The 2013 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award winner, Tillman started just eight games last season before finishing on injured reserve due to torn triceps, but he still forced six takeaways (three interceptions, three forced fumbles).
Tillman’s 36 interceptions rank No. 3 in franchise history, and he owns club records for interception return yards (675), interception return touchdowns (eight) and defensive return touchdowns (nine).