During the offseason, the Carolina Panthers lost two of their starting cornerbacks, forcing them to find their replacements in the NFL Draft. With the Panthers heading into the season with one of the best NFL odds to win the Super Bowl, they are hoping their young cornerbacks will progress enough to be ready to handle the pressure of playing in the NFL.
Fortunately, the Panthers might have some extra depth at the cornerback position because former Panthers cornerback Charles Tillman, recently told reporters that if he decided to play one more season instead of retiring, he would only play for the Panthers.
Tillman made the statement over the weekend when he was at a football camp with former teammate Matt Forte in Louisiana.
Tillman, who spent the first 12 seasons of his career with the Chicago Bears, started 12 games for the Panthers before injuring his ACL, which forced him to miss the playoffs. If he has fully recovered, he will give the Panthers a reliable veteran cornerback that can mentor their young players.
The question on Tillman and everybody else’s mind right now is are the Carolina Panthers interested in bringing Tillman back?
According to head coach Ron Rivera, who also coached Tillman when he was in Chicago, the Panthers currently don’t have plans to bring in a veteran cornerback.
Rivera made the statement during offseason workouts and said if the team was going to bring a veteran in, it would be something the team would consider down the line.
However, Rivera might have been saying that because he knows he can bring Tillman in whenever he feels like it.
According to reports, Rivera loves Tillman especially after last season when he not only helped the team as a player, he also helped young players get better last year.
Tillman also taught the young Carolina defensive backs his “Peanut Punch,” which is the technique he uses to punch the ball out of the ball carrier’s hands forcing a fumble in the process. The technique apparently worked for the young players as the Panthers finished the season with 24 fumbles forced, which was second in the NFL.
The Panthers Pro Bowl corner back Josh Norman had a career high 3 forced fumbles last year, thanks to Tillman’s technique.
Norman left the Panthers for the Washington Redskins after having his franchise tag rescinded by the team in what was one of the most bizarre contract negotiations that occurred during the offseason.
With Norman now in Washington, the Panthers would benefit from a veteran presence on the team. The fact that Tillman wants to play for the Panthers comes as no surprise because despite injuring his ACL last season, Tillman continued to practice during the playoffs even though he knew he wouldn’t be able to play.
However, if the Panthers decide to sign Tillman, they will have to wait until he is fully healed before he can take the field. According to Tillman, that might take a month or more.
Tillman told reporters that despite playing only one season in Carolina, it felt like he had been there his whole career. He said that the team and community all showed him a lot of love during his time in Carolina.