Cornerback Charles Tillman has been named the Bears nominee for the 2012 Walter Payton NFL "Man of the Year" award. Tillman was also the Bears selection in 2011 and was voted one of three finalists by the NFL's blue-ribbon panel.
This prestigious NFL award is the only league award that recognizes a player's off-the-field community service, support and activities as well as his playing excellence. It has been in existence since 1970 and honors NFL players who demonstrate outstanding balance in their lives between civic and professional responsibilities.
All 32 nominees, one from each NFL team, will receive a $1,000 contribution toward a charity of his choice, and the overall winner will receive $25,000 to donate to his selected charity. The 2012 Walter Payton NFL "Man of the Year" winner will be announced during the "NFL Honors" awards ceremony the night before Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans.
Since being drafted by the Bears in 2003, Tillman has been voted to two Pro Bowls and continues to show incredible passion for football and giving to those in need. Since the inception of the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation in 2005, his efforts have positively impacted over one million Chicago area children and raised well over $1 million. The Foundation began by providing children with educational opportunities and resources to excel in the classroom.
In 2008, Tillman's three-month old daughter was diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. She received a life-saving heart transplant and is now a healthy and active little girl. Consequently, the Cornerstone Foundation changed its mission to improve the lives of critically and chronically ill children throughout Chicagoland by providing support and life-changing experiences.
Aside from the large impact of the Cornerstone Foundation, Tillman and his wife, Jackie, go above and beyond and contribute their time, talents and resources to a variety of organizations across the country that support the military, education, organ donation, and underprivileged children and families.