Birth of daughter may hold out Tillman

CB Charles Tillman (Jonathan Daniel/Getty)

Charles Tillman's daughter could be born this weekend, which could cause a leading candidate for NFC Defensive Player of the Year to miss Sunday's contest against the Houston Texans.

LAKE FOREST, Ill. — Chicago Bears star cornerback Charles Tillman might miss Sunday's game against the Houston Texans because of the pending birth of his daughter.

Tillman told Chicago radio station WSCR-AM that he might not be available because his wife, Jackie, is due to give birth to a girl — the couple's fourth child. Their daughter, Tiana, needed a heart transplant a few months after she was born in 2008.

"The wife is due any day, so hopefully this baby can stay in until after the game on Sunday," Tillman said. "I hope she stays in — I'm having another girl. Monday, for sure, but if she comes Sunday, I think I'm going to have to be at the hospital Sunday. So, I hope she stays in until after Sunday."

Asked on a conference call with Houston reporters about Tillman possibly missing the game, coach Lovie Smith said, "Not concerned at all. Things happen in life. Whatever we're faced with, we'll deal with."

Tillman is making a case for defensive player of the year, and he forced four fumbles last Sunday at Tennessee. His teammates on the NFC North leaders expressed their support for him before practice on Wednesday. Tillman was not available for comment.

"You take on the character of your leader," receiver Brandon Marshall said. "Coach Smith since Day 1 in my own personal business, he's always preached family first. Whether I had to go out of town in OTAs to visit a family member or do something with family, it's no argument. It's take care of your family.

"We understand how things are run around here. This is a special group. Coach Smith is a special guy, definitely in how he runs things, and like I said you take on the character of your leader. That's what he preaches — family comes first."


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