An Island of One

Charles Tillman's up and down 2005 campaign led to speculation the Bears would move Tillman from cornerback to safety. However, General manger Jerry Angelo put an end to rumors that the team was considering a position switch at this time.

Tillman finished the year with a career-high five interceptions, but on several occasions gave up big plays at inopportune times. Coach Lovie Smith is quick to point out that the end result wasn't solely Tillman's fault.

"When you give up a few long passes, the secondary will get the blame," Smith said. "Pass coverage is about us making a good call, it's about the defensive line getting pressure and the linebackers and the secondary covering.

The playoff loss against the Carolina Panthers was a perfect case in point. After taking Jake Delhomme down eight times in the regular season meeting, the defensive line had just one sack in the divisional matchup. Tillman gave up two long completions to Steve Smith and had trouble covering him all day.

Although the nature of the position allows even the best cornerbacks in the league to get beat on occasion, Tillman needs to do a better job of limiting his mistakes.

"When you look at the left corner in our league it's probably one of the most demanding positions on the field. Not just on the defense, but on the field," Angelo said. "Most of the corners that go over to Hawaii are right corners. The left corner is a very tough position to play in our league so I'm not going to beat him up too badly. He's got a lot of characteristics that you look for at the position.

"He had some bad plays, we know that, but that doesn't mean he's a bad player. He's got to get better at some things. We have a lot of confidence in Charles, he's a very good player."

Tillman played safety at Louisiana Lafayette. When the Bears took him in the second round of the 2003 draft, the thought was if he didn't workout at cornerback he could become a Pro Bowl safety. With that in mind, there was speculation the team would consider moving the six-foot-1, 195-pounder back to safety. Angelo called the talk "premature", but didn't entirely rule it out.

Tillman had shoulder surgery to keep it from repeatedly dislocating. The rehabilitation time frame is four months, which puts his status for June's mini-camp in doubt.

Fan Friendly Weekend
The Bears ninth-annual Fan Convention is Friday through Sunday at the Chicago Hilton and Towers. The event will feature over 50 former and current members of the Bears.

The highlights of the weekend include a Walter Payton photography exhibit, seminars, autographs, the youth interactive area, kid's football clinics and question-and-answer sessions with Bears players and coaches. Proceeds from Fan Convention benefit Bears Care.

Doors open for the event on Friday at 4:00 p.m. with the players being introduced at the opening ceremonies beginning at 7:00 p.m. Convention hours are Friday from 4:00-10:00 p.m., Saturday 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. and Sunday 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Adult passes are $35 for the weekend, $20 for Friday or Saturday and $15 for Sunday. Passes for children ages 3-12 are $10. Tickets are available by calling Ticketmaster at (312) 559-1212 or online at www.ticketmaster.com. A very limited number of tickets will be available at the door.

Rooms can be booked at the Hilton Chicago for a special convention rate and ticket package by calling (877) 865-5320 with a portion of the proceeds going to Bears Care. For more information, call the Chicago Bears at (847) 295-6600.


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