Honorable Mention

Bear defensive back Charles Tillman finished fifth in the voting for The Associated Press' NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year award won by Raven linebacker Terrell Suggs.

Tillman, a second-round draft choice out of Louisiana-Lafayette, moved into the starting lineup at cornerback after three games and ended up tying for the team lead in interceptions with four. He got two votes from a nationwide panel of 50 sportswriters and broadcasters who cover the NFL.

Suggs got 23, Dallas cornerback Terence Newman 15, Green Bay linebacker Nick Barnett 6, Minnesota defensive tackle Kevin Williams 3, and New England safety Eugene Wilson 1. Wilson played collegiately at Illinois.

Suggs, the 10th overall pick in April's draft, had been considered by the Bears with the fourth pick in the draft before GM Jerry Angelo traded down from the slot for the 13th and 22nd overall choices, which yielded Michael Haynes and Rex Grossman. Suggs finished with 12 sacks out of a 3-4 alignment in which he often served as an end. As a backup, he finished tied for seventh in the NFL in sacks, ahead of such stars as Jevon Kearse and Dwight Freeney. Suggs is the second Ravens linebacker to win the award; Peter Boulware got it in 1997.

He's also the third linebacker in the last four years to take the honor, joining Brian Urlacher (2000) and Kendrell Bell (2001). Last year's winner was Carolina defensive end Julius Pepper.


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