Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman developed a reputation as a forced fumble expert and stout zone corner in Lovie Smith's Tampa-2 defense over the past nine years, and he earned Pro Bowl honors in the 2012 season even as the Bears chose to fire Smith, so it's understandable that he struggled with the organization's decision to jettison the head coach.
Smith built up one of the best NFL defenses of the past decade, and Tillman played an integral role in those units, so when Tillman spoke with AM 670 The Score he expressed his shock. In discussing the firing, he described Smith as a classy man who ran a great defense that Tillman said he was "heavily invested in" for his career:
"I'm not bitter, I'm still taking it in. It's a big shock ... I'm more shocked than anything."
"I'm sure a lot of guys who are under contract or thought about leaving or were thinking about staying, now they might think about leaving. I'm sure a lot of that comes into their minds because there is a coach out there who's going to come in and he's going to take this team in the direction he feels to win a championship. Certain guys might not fit in that scheme."
When asked about a potential switch to a 3-4 defensive scheme, Tillman didn't sound to enthused, but he did note that the current scheme has worked very well for the Bears. The Pro Bowl performer did say that he thinks general manager Phil Emery is a good fit for the Bears, and that he's excited to see what comes next.
You can listen to the full interview here.