On Saturday, Charles Tillman said that if he were to return to the NFL after he recovers from an ACL injury his list of teams he would be interested in playing for is one. "I just want to play for Carolina," Tillman said according to NOLA.com's Christopher Dabe.
Tillman joined the Carolina Panthers last year as a free agent on a one-year deal and started at cornerback for this team for 12 games. However, what has become an unfortunate trend for Tillman, the cornerback's season was cut short due to an injury. He suffered a knee injury and missed the next four games after the Tennessee Titans' game. He was able to return for the three final games of the regular season but suffered an ACL tear against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This injury forced Tillman to miss the team's playoff run.
"Being in Carolina felt like I had been there my entire career," he said. "The team, the community, the atmosphere, that vibe. The Carolinas -- North Carolina and South Carolina -- they showed a lot of love."
This is high praise for the organization and the area since Tillman played his first 12 years of his career with the Chicago Bears. He made a name for himself with the "Peanut Punch" for his ability to force fumbles. He has 44 career forced fumbles with a career high of 10 in 2012.
Tillman did say that he is still about two months away from a potential return, which would put his timetable right around the start of the regular season. The Panthers will have by then had plenty of opportunities to get an understanding what they have at the cornerback position with their three rookies.
If the organization is able to find a spot on the roster, a player like Tillman would be a great fit. He knows this defense and has had success playing in it. The biggest question will be if Tillman is recovered and able to play at the level he did before the injury.