Chicago Bears defensive back Charles Tillman was speaking with WSCR-AM on Wednesday morning that if his wife, who is expecting to give birth in the coming days, went into labor on Sunday, that he would have to miss the Bears big match-up against the Houston Texans at Soldier Field.
“At the end of the day, [family is] all that you have,” Tillman said. “This game is important to me, but after what we went through with my middle child Tiana (who was diagnosed with a rare heart disease), to me football is second. It’ll always be second or third in my life. That was a great lesson learned, to teach me that family — when I’m done playing football — my family will always be there for me.”
It was those comments that made a certain former lawyer turned NFL blogger dedicate hours and countless blog posts to the subject. He even went as far as to say Tillman should miss the birth of his child because he signed a contract that he would be available for 16 days a year regardless of circumstances.
Fortunately for Tillman, there are some who still understand that the NFL players are more than just that. They are fathers, husbands, brothers, sons… they are a lot more than just guys on a field for our entertainment.
Those who show simple human compassion understand that which is why it is good to see members of the Bears organization coming out and showing support of Tillman decision to miss the game if his wife goes into labor.
“It’s take care of your family. We understand how things are run around here,” Brandon Marshall said, via the Chicago Sun-Times. “This is a special group. Coach (Lovie) Smith is a special guy, definitely in how he runs things, and — you take on the character of your leader. That’s what he preaches — family comes first.”
It’s not just his teammates coming out to show support, but his head coach Lovie Smith as well.
It’s family first,” said Smith. “If there is something you feel like you need to do for your family, always do that. How we look at it is like an injury. If a player can’t go, it’s next guy up. We’ll keep going.”
This showing of unity goes a long way in explaining why the Bears have been so successful this season. They take the field as a team and they have each other’s backs every day of the week.
Best wishes to Tillman and his wife as they prepare to welcome another human into the world.