Chicago Bears' Charles Tillman named NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Jay Feely, Charles Tillman, and Thomas Davis were all in New York as finalists for the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year award. Perhaps the last time he represents the Bears, Tillman was named as the recipient.

The Chicago Bears' 11-year veteran cornerback Charles Tillman, long a fan favorite for his intelligent and classy manner and activities on the field of play, has been recognized for his achievements off it as he was named the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year at "NFL Honors" on Saturday.

Fittingly Connie Payton and her and Walter's children, Brittney and Jarrett, were all present at the ceremony in New York to see the award named after the legendary Bear handed to one of his own.

Tillman had previously been a finalist for the same award in 2011 and, having grown up in a military family himself, was the recipient of the NFL Salute to Service Award in 2012.

Fans are probably aware that his foundation helps provide child patients in hospitals with all sorts of entertainment gadgets, no doubt stemming from his experience with his own daughter's treatment, but he's done so much more that you may not have known about: helping build a school in Cambodia, sponsoring children through the Urban Promise program, and, in keeping with his family's military service, more with the USO. NFL.com has a nice writeup.

While Tillman "won" the award, in reality of course the other finalists - Arizona Cardinals kicker Jay Feely and Carolina Panthers linebacker Thomas Davis - are just as deserving of our admiration for how they use their fame to do what they do for others away from the game.

Every year, each team nominates one player for the Man of the Year award, then a panel of judges, including Roger Goodell, Connie Payton, and current NFL players, all make the decision on who that year's winner will be.

Previous Chicago Bears winners:

1977- Walter Payton

1987- Dave Duerson

1990- Mike Singletary

2000- Jim Flanigan

Congratulations Peanut, wherever you may end up playing next season. And don't forget, you promised to retire as a Chicago Bear!

(Article pic in hi-res.)

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