Need more proof that Charles Tillman is a stand-up guy?
Tune in to USA Network tonight for “NFL Characters Unite,” an hour-long documentary timed to kick off Super Bowl weekend.
The Chicago Bears cornerback — at least for now — is one seven NFL stars sharing their personal stories about overcoming bullying and prejudice to help young people struggling with similar issues.
Growing up in a military family, Tillman moved around a lot. He even spent time as a child abroad in Germany. His nomadic lifestyle meant he never felt like he truly belonged anywhere.
“The kids who do the bullying, they don’t really understand what you go through moving from place to place,” he says in the show. “I didn’t really fit in. I was the labeled as the geek, the loser. That was probably one of the hardest struggles I had to go through.”
In the program, Tillman meets Katy Stephens, a teen whose move to Chicago wasn’t easy. She’s passionate about theater but she ended up dropping out of her school’s program because she was fed up with teasing from the mean-girl contingent.
“You can’t let someone take something away from you,” says Tillman, who gets Katy enrolled in Second City improv classes to help her pursue her acting dreams.
Part of USA’s “Characters Unite” public service campaign, the documentary includes New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz, Green Bay Packers wide receiver Randall Cobb, New York Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich, New York Jets center Nick Mangold, Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt.
Chris Collinsworth narrates the show sponsored by GMC. That explains the preponderance of GMC trucks in the doc, airing at 6 p.m. Friday on USA.
— Lori Rackl, TV Critic