Black and Blue all over: Charles Tillman's story
Saturday is the NFL's official roster cutdown day. But the best story might be that of Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman, who revealed Friday that his personal absences from training camp this summer were due to the serious heart condition of his six-month-old daughter, Tiana.
As David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune writes, Tiana Tillman was rushed to a Chicago-area hospital May 20 because of an enlarged heart. She was kept alive with a device known as a Berlin Heart -- an external pump that maintains blood flow in cases of a damaged heart -- until finally receiving a heart transplant July 31.
Tiana must remain on medication for the rest of her life, but Tillman said: "She'll be a normal kid. She can ride a bike, play little league soccer if she wants to. I'm optimistic. This has made us stronger as a family."
At a news conference Friday, Tillman urged citizens to register as an organ donor. Sounds like a noble cause to us.
Moving back on the field in the NFC North:
- In addition to the players listed on Friday's post, the Chicago Sun-Times reports the Bears have told long-snapper Thomas Gafford he will be released.
- Gafford could return to the Green Bay Packers, whose current long-snapper, J.J. Jansen, was diagnosed Friday with a sprained lateral collateral ligament in his left knee, according to the Green Bay Press-Gazette. The injury isn't serious, but it's not clear whether Jansen can recover in time to play in the Sept. 8 season opener against Minnesota.
- Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel offers a position-by-position analysis of the Packers. It includes this highlight: "Matt Flynn clearly was the second-best passer in camp." Flynn and Brian Brohm were competing for the No. 2 quarterback job behind starter Aaron Rodgers.
- In addition to the players listed on Friday's post, the Star Tribune reports the Vikings will also release linebacker Rufus Alexander and David Herron.
- Six of the Detroit Lions' eight draft picks are expected to make the team, according to the Detroit Free Press.
- Running back Artose Pinner hopes his performance Thursday night -- 78 yards on 23 carries at Buffalo -- convinces the Lions he is worth keeping on the roster for insurance purposes.