Snub You Very Much?

The Bears are 12-2 and atop the NFC this season, so as you'd expect, they lead the conference with seven players being named to the Pro Bowl. But are there any deserving Midway Monsters who won't be making the trip to Hawaii? Bear Report polled several players in the Halas Hall locker room on Wednesday, and one name in particular kept getting mentioned.

Charles Tillman has been the Rodney Dangerfield of the Bears secondary for quite some time. No matter what he seems to do, he just doesn't get any respect. Fans were looking for a scapegoat after last season's debilitating playoff loss to Carolina, and considering that Steve Smith totaled 218 yards receiving and scored two long-range touchdowns, Tillman was the logical choice.

A fourth-year player out of Louisiana-Lafayette, Tillman has responded with arguably his best season as a pro. He is tied for the team lead with five interceptions, and his 14 passes defensed are tops on the club. Always a physical player in run support, Tillman is third on the team in tackles (81) behind perenniel All-Pros Lance Briggs and Brian Urlacher.

Reserve offensive tackle John St. Clair feels that many more Bears could have made the Pro Bowl, but he's happy for the ones who did.

"There were a lot of Bears players who could have gone to the Pro Bowl," St. Clair said on Wednesday at Halas Hall. "I could name quite a few from the offense right now, but that's kind of beside the point right now. I'm glad that we do have so many from our team going. It says a lot about the quality of these players and the quality of our coaches."

Backup linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo is an All-Pro this season as a special teams player, and he wishes he could share that honor with more of his teammates.

"I'll just say what Brian Urlacher always says," Ayanbadejo said. "That every single member of this team should be going to the Pro Bowl. Sure, there always will be a few who should have gone but aren't going this time. It all comes down to how you've played during a specific year. I was lucky enough to have been picked this time after being an alternate. I couldn't be happier about that."

Fullback Jason McKie has enjoyed a breakout season and was rewarded with a shiny new contract extension, but he's quick to give credit to the big uglies up front.

"Are there any players from the Bears who should be going? Definitely," said McKie. "I'd say the entire offensive line should be going to Hawaii this time. But things don't always turn out the way you want them to. I'm happy for the players from the Bears who are going. They certainly deserve that honor."

Although Tillman missed out this season, it's hard to argue with the NFC's three Pro Bowl cornerbacks: Tampa Bay's Ronde Barber, Atlanta's DeAngelo Hall, and Philadelphia's Lito Sheppard. That being said, Tillman has two more INTs than Barber (three) and the same number of tackles as Hall and Sheppard combined. Only Sheppard has more passes defensed (18).

Third-team tailback Adrian Peterson has been making more of an impact on offense the last few weeks, but a Pro Bowl berth isn't what he set his sights on this season.

"It's good to have your guys represent your team at the Pro Bowl," said Peterson. "But for me, it's all about the Super Bowl. That is the real prize. And until we achieve that goal, whether or not each of us is going to the Pro Bowl doesn't make that much difference."

Defensive end Alex Brown believes that the voting process varies from person to person and can have an effect on who gets lei'd in Hawaii.

"The Pro Bowl can be pretty subjective," Brown said. "It all comes down to how well an individual is playing during one particular season. Sometimes you think good people weren't selected, but usually the ones who deserve to be there are chosen."

Perhaps Tillman will have the last laugh come season's end. He would surely trade a trip to sunny Hawaii for his own championship ring. Nobody remembers who won the Pro Bowl game last year, but Super Bowl champions are never forgotten.

However, defensive coordinator Ron Rivera feels that Tillman has been a difference-maker and deserved his first All-Star nod.

"I thought Charles had an exceptional year," Rivera said. "I thought he rebounded very well from last year and has done nothing but get better. He's made a number of plays [and] has played extremely well. Especially for a guy that we keep putting him on the No. 1 receivers. He just keeps responding every week."

Tillman will be lined up opposite another member of the All-Snub Team on Sunday: Detroit's Roy Williams.

JC

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