Charles Tillman: People Perceive Cutler As Jerk, Bad Guy

You wanna hear something crazy? Good. Try this on for size: Last year, Matt Forte had 1,287 total yards, averaged 4.1 yards per carry, caught 44 balls and scored seven touchdowns – all in just 13 games.

It may have been the worst year of his career.

Seriously.

Look at Forte’s numbers through the years. He rushed for 900+ yards in each of his first seven seasons and topped the 1,000-yard mark five times. He’s caught 50+ balls six times. He has 8,000+ rushing yards, 4,000+ receiving yards and 64 touchdowns (45 rush, 10 receiving) in 120 career games and has never played fewer than 12 games in a season.

In short, he’s been a stud.

This past offseason, however, the Bears didn’t try to re-sign him. The Jets did. Forte listened and signed a three-year, $12 million deal with New York.

Forte may be 30, but he still has plenty left in the tank.

“I most definitely think so,” Charles “Peanut” Tillman said on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Chicago, they seem to think differently, but if you’re sleeping on Matt Forte this season, you’re an idiot and he is going to run you over. Do not sleep on that guy. Do not sleep on him.”

Tillman, who played for the Bears from 2003 to 2014, also addressed former teammate Jay Cutler.

“I had a good time (playing with Jay),” Tillman said. “We got along as teammates. I think Jay Cutler gets a bad rap. I think (people) read his body language. I think his body language always screams like something is wrong. Perception is reality. People treat you how they perceive you, and they perceive him as being a jerk or a bad guy or just whatever. I think that’s the reputation he has built over time, just because of who he is and how he carries himself.”

Cutler often carries himself with a glum, indifferent, defeatist attitude. Many NFL folks believe Cutler’s teammates can sense that and that it’s not good for the locker room.

“I think he can change,” Tillman said. “I think we all can change. But at the end of the day, you are who you are. I don’t think he needs to change to please anybody. If he’s comfortable in his skin, by all means: Do you, Jay. I don’t think he has to change to make me feel good or make you two guys feel good. If he’s comfortable with himself and his wife and his kids and his family and his close friends, then I say do you. It’s all good.”

Tillman, a free agent, spent last season with Carolina. He had a productive year but tore his ACL in the Panthers’ regular-season finale against Tampa Bay. The Panthers advanced to Super Bowl 50 in his absence but lost to the Broncos, 24-10.

Carolina had a fairly quiet offseason until last week, when it released Josh Norman, seemingly out of nowhere. Tiki and Tierney wondered if Dave Gettleman’s decision to release Norman will have a negative effect the locker room. After all, if one of the best players on the team gets released, no one is safe.

Tillman, however, doesn’t believe Norman’s departure will have a huge impact.

“I think the mentality is the same,” Tillman said. “Mr. G is a no-nonsense guy. I think he felt what he did was in the best interest of the team. Whatever conversations that Mr. G and J-No had, that’s between them. But you got to respect his decision and what he made. I think he did that with the best interest of the team. You put the team first above one man, and I think that was how he was thinking.”

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