Fighting Illini football had a special guest at training camp! Former Chicago Bears star Charles ‘Peanut’ Tillman was in Champaign on Tuesday to visit Lovie Smith and give advice to the secondary. Tillman, who played under Smith from 2004-2012, previously said he’d visit the team shortly after his retirement from professional football.
Former Bears CB great Charles Tillman is out here at #Illini practice. Been in Jaylen Dunlap's ear. Fantastic asset for this group today.— Derek Piper (@DPiperScout) August 9, 2016
As Derek Piper mentioned on Twitter, Tillman is a pretty incredible voice to have on the field, even if it’s only for a single practice. The star defensive back made two Pro Bowls during his 12 seasons in Chicago, and he set franchise records for defensive touchdowns (9) and interceptions by a cornerback (36). Tillman retired from the NFL last month after playing his thirteenth season with the Carolina Panthers.
And speaking of Jaylen Dunlap, the redshirt-junior got in a "heated exchange" with senior wideout Justin Hardee during 7-on-7 drills. Perhaps Peanut’s competitiveness is already rubbing off on the defense?