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Tillman expected to return to action against Redskins

Bears cornerback Charles Tillman was held out of practice Wednesday, but the two-time Pro Bowler is expected to start Sunday's road game against the Washington Redskins.

Tillman has been dealing with a knee injury for a month. He sat out last Thursday night's win over the New York Giants, snapping a streak of 53 consecutive starts. Tillman likely would have been able to play had the game been on Sunday.


Charles Tillman and Robert Griffin III both attended Copperas Cove High School in Texas.
"We're going to ease him in this week and give him a little more [Thursday] and Friday, but he's feeling good and we expect him to play," said coach Marc Trestman.

Tight end Martellus Bennett (knee) and defensive end Julius Peppers (coach's decision) also sat out practice. Linebacker James Anderson (back), defensive tackle Stephen Paea (toe) and safeties Anthony Walters (hamstring) and Major Wright (knee) were limited.

Reunion time: Tillman and Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III both grew up in the small military town of Copperas Cove Texas, and attended the same high school. The two are nine years apart and first met when Griffin was in seventh grade.

"He was a big influence there in the city," Griffin said during a conference call with the Chicago media. "He's always been a nice guy and a great football player. I look forward to playing him."

Griffin is well aware of Tillman's ability to generate turnovers. The Pro Bowl cornerback ranks third in Bears history with 35 interceptions and his 41 forced fumbles are the most by any player since he entered the NFL in 2003.

"He's a very instinctive guy," Griffin said. "He's been in the league doing this for a long time, so he sees a lot of things. He can diagnose it. He can get to the ball. He's great at creating turnovers. And those are all things that we have to make sure that we don't allow him to do."

Coach for life: Brandon Marshall credits much of his success to Redskins coach Mike Shanahan, who served in the same capacity with the Broncos during the Pro Bowl receiver's first three NFL seasons from 2006-08.

"I'm so thankful they gave me an opportunity in Denver, and he gave me chance after chance," Marshall said. "Still to this day we find ourselves at the same golf outings. When I'm in Denver, sometimes I may even run into him at his restaurants and we get a chance to talk.

"He's definitely someone I think that would be a friend, a mentor and a coach for the rest of my life. He's that type of guy, and I'm thankful to have had the opportunity to play for him."

Long returns: The Bears hope to take advantage of a Redskins special teams unit that allowed the Cowboys' Dwayne Harris to return a punt 86 yards for a touchdown and a kickoff 90 yards to set up another TD last Sunday night in Dallas. But it won't be easy.

"It was a rough night for them, obviously," said Bears special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis, who served in the same role with the Cowboys the previous four seasons.

"I'm sure that they're going to be emphasizing that area, and I'm sure we'll see a completely different team this week, because I know once you have a game like that, it's tough on your whole team. I imagine there will be a lot of veterans that are trying to get them going in the right direction."

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