Charles Tillman took his first step toward trying to punch his ticket to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. On Wednesday, the former Bears cornerback was one of 130 players formally nominated for the 2021 modern-era class.
Tillman played for the Bears from 2003-14, appearing in two Pro Bowls and on one all-pro team. He was the Walter Payton Man of the Year for the 2013 season.
He changed the sport by popularizing the “Peanut Punch,” forced 42 fumbles as a member of the Bears. He started 12 games for the Panthers in 2015. When he retired the next summer, he was two interceptions shy of becoming the only NFL player to ever intercept 40 or more passes and force 40 or more fumbles.
Lance Briggs, the seven-time Pro Bowl linebacker, was named to the 130-person list for the second-straight year. Center Olin Kreutz, who played for the Bears from 1998-2010, returned to the list, too.
Jared Allen, like Tillman, is a first-time nominee. He spent a year-and-a-half with the Bears late in his career, sandwiched around stellar seasons with the Vikings and a Super Bowl appearance with the Panthers.
The list will be whittled down to 15 modern-era finalists, plus senior finalist Drew Pearson, contributor finalist Bill Nunn and coach finalist Tom Flores. Between four and eight new members will be picked the day before the Super Bowl, on Feb. 6, in Tampa.