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Bears’ teammates understand if Tillman misses Sunday’s game for birth of child

Charles Tillman Kenny Britt

Charles Tillman, Kenny Britt

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Updated: December 9, 2012 7:44PM



Family comes first.

It’s what Bears cornerback Charles Tillman strongly believes and what coach Lovie Smith has preached for years.

So if Tillman — a leading candidate for Defensive Player of the Year — misses the game Sunday night against the Houston Texans to be with his wife for the birth of their fourth child, that’s just fine with his teammates.

“It’s family first,” Smith said. “If there is something you feel like you need to do for your family always do that. How we look at it is like an injury. If a player can’t go, it’s next guy up. We’ll keep going.”

Tillman told WSCR-670 AM Wednesday morning that he and his wife, Jackie, are expecting the birth of their daughter on Monday, but also that he would be at the hospital Sunday night if needed.

“At the end of the day, [family is] all that you have,” Tillman said later after practice. “This game is important to me, but after what we went through with my middle child Tiana (who was diagnosed with a rare heart disease), to me football is second.

“It’ll always be second or third in my life. That was a great lesson learned, to teach me that family — when I’m done playing football — my family will always be there for me.”

Tillman, though, did say if their daughter is born Sunday morning he’ll play that night.

“Yeah, I’ll be there,” he said.

Either way, Tillman’s teammates say they support him.

“It’s take care of your family. We understand how things are run around here,” receiver Brandon Marshall said. “This is a special group. Coach Smith is a special guy, definitely in how he runs things, and … you take on the character of your leader. That’s what he preaches — family comes first.”

Some more honors

Linebacker Brian Urlacher was named the NFC Defensive Player of the Week after having a 46-yard interception return for a touchdown, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery in the Bears’ 51-20 rout of the Tennessee Titans on Sunday.

Cornerback Sherrick McManis also was named the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week for a blocking a punt that led to defensive end Corey Wootton’s touchdown.

Urlacher and McManis are the first teammates to win player of the week awards in the same week since 2008.

Notes

Receiver Alshon Jeffery (fractured right hand) didn’t practice Wednesday, while defensive linemen Israel Idonije (ankle), Henry Melton (back) and Matt Toeaina (calf) were limited.

◆ The NFL reportedly fined Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck $15,750 for an illegal horse-collar tackle on Bears nickelback Kelvin Hayden.



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