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Bears vs. Lions: Charles Tillman's versatility anchors Chicago's secondary

Chicago Bears cornerback Charles Tillman can play any position on the field, but he excels at one role in particular: covering opposing team's No. 1 wide receiver


Cornerback Charles Tillman is one of the oldest members of the touted Chicago Bears defense, but he is one of the most versatile members as well.

According to Vaughn McClure of the Chicago Tribune, head coach Lovie Smith trusts Tillman to play anywhere in the defensive backfield.

"Receivers come in all different sizes, so you have to have at least one big corner,'' Bears coach Lovie Smith said. "Charles does so much for us. If he wanted to, he could play safety. He could play nickel. And, of course, he could play on the outside."

Although he is capable of playing across the entire field, the Bears feel comfortable leaving him at the position he is now. He has excelled at that position through five games this season, as he has a forced fumble and two interceptions, both of which were returned for touchdowns.

Middle linebacker and longtime teammate, Brian Urlacher, agrees that Tillman is versatile, but he sees no reason to mess with the success he has had at cornerback.

"He's just such a big guy that he can play in the slot, he can play outside. He's just so smart,'' Brian Urlacher said. "He could do it all. But why would you move him? He's a great corner.''

Tillman will be faced with the challenge of covering star wide receiver Calvin Johnson Monday night when the Bears face-off with the Detroit Lions. But covering a teams No. 1 wideout is nothing new to the veteran cornerback. Tillman says he remembers facing opposing teams' top receiving options dating back seven years.

"They trusted me to follow guys around in 2005, '06,'' he said. "I remember in '06, we played the Giants and I had to chase Plaxico (Burress). I don't think this is anything new.''

Tillman leads a Chicago Bears defense which is tops in the NFL in interceptions with 13. They look to increase that number, as well as increase their lead in the NFC North Monday night against the Lions.