By Adam Hoge-
HALAS HALL (CBS) Charles Tillman may have played his last game in a Bears uniform.
The cornerback suffered a torn triceps in Sunday’s loss to the Lions and was placed on injured reserve with designation to return. By rule, he cannot return to practice for six weeks and cannot play in a game for at least eight weeks. With only seven regular season games remaining, that means Tillman can’t return until the first potential playoff game.
“It hurts. I’m definitely sad,” Tillman said Monday. “We have a lot of potential and the fact that I’m no longer a part of that to help this team succeed, that’s the part that hurts. My role right now is just to be the biggest cheerleader and supporter I can be on the sideline.”
Asked if he thinks he’ll be able to return if the Bears (5-4) make the playoffs, the cornerback said: “Yes. Yeah, potentially. Hopefully.”
“If it’s out there, yeah, I’ll try it,” Tillman said when asked what he’ll do to recover. “As long as it’s legal and within the framework of the NFL.”
But the potential for surgery is still out there. For now, no surgery is planned, but Tillman said he will go for a second opinion and “the injury is still kind of being diagnosed.”
If the Bears don’t make the playoffs, the 32-year-old Tillman may have played his last game for the team. He’s in the final year of a contract and dealt with a nagging knee injury all season before suffering the triceps injury Sunday.
Some have speculated that Tillman’s NFL career could be extended by a position switch to safety, but he said Monday he’s not thinking about such a change.
“No, I think my athleticism is still there to play corner in this league, whether it be for the Bears or somebody else, but I still think I have some corner left in me,” Tillman said.
For now, he’ll be making a switch to the sideline, where he’ll act as an extension of the coaching staff for the rest of the season.
“All I have to do is be a cheerleader and help out Jon Hoke and Chris Harris and Mel Tucker. If they need something and I see something, they have an extra set of eyes and some experience on the sideline with him,” Tillman said. “I’m not fond of coaching, but I guess I’m kind of being thrown into it, so I’m willing to help out and do my part.”
The Bears also announced Monday that quarterback Jay Cutler suffered an high-ankle sprain in Sunday’s game and is officially week-to-week. We’ll have more on Cutler’s injury after Bears head coach Marc Trestman addresses the media.
Adam Hoge covers the Bears for CBSChicago.com and is a frequent contributor to 670 The Score. Follow him on Twitter at @AdamHoge.