CHARLOTTE – The Panthers have signed two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Charles Tillman to a one-year contract. "Charles brings veteran leadership and experience and has familiarity with both (head coach) Ron (Rivera) and (assistant head coach/secondary) Steve (Wilks)," general manager Dave Gettleman said. "He is a high-character player that we are excited to add to our team."
Tillman had spent all 12 years of his career with the Chicago Bears, who drafted him in the second round from Louisiana Lafayette in 2003. He has started 152 of 156 games played, but an injured right triceps limited him to 10 games over the last two seasons, including just two in 2014.
Selected to the Pro Bowl in 2011 and 2012, he has recorded 961 tackles, 36 interceptions, 113 passes defensed and 42 forced fumbles, which are the most in the NFL since 2003. Tillman has scored nine defensive touchdowns in his career.
The veteran cornerback cited a reunion with former coaches as a primary reason for joining the Panthers. Rivera was the Bears' defensive coordinator from 2004-06, and Wilks was the Bears' defensive backs coach from 2006-08.
"I think Coach Rivera was one of the main reasons why I wanted to be here," Tillman said. "He's a guy that I had a lot of respect for when I was in Chicago. I love his leadership and his qualities as a coach, and he's done a good job with the Panthers. There's a good group of guys here like Thomas Davis, Greg Olsen, Luke Kuechly and Cam Newton. I got a good vibe here.
"This is a similar defense, and Steve Wilks and (defensive line coach) Eric Washington were also in Chicago, so there is familiarity."