bill-swift - November 9, 2012
Ever since they lost to the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl XLI, the Chicago Bears have been nothing more than a mediocre team (with the obvious exception of the '10 season). This year things are going their way. The offense is clicking; the defense and special teams have been dominating opponents.
At 7-1 nothing appears to be able to stop them, especially not the 7-1 Houston Texans that are coming to town for a potential Super Bowl preview on Sunday Night Football. However, there could be one thing that will make the task a lot harder than it needs to be—child birth.
Cornerback Charles Tillman is having a career season; one that makes him a definite candidate for Defensive Player of the Year as well as MVP. Last Sunday against Tennessee was a perfect example of the impact he can have on a game (forced four fumbles). So far this season has returned two interceptions for touchdowns as well.
Needless to say he is one guy that the team can't miss, but come Sunday night they might if his wife goes into labor. She is due to give birth on Monday, but the baby could really come any time now at this point. Tillman, being the good husband and parent that he is has stated that he will miss the game should his wife go into labor on Sunday.
This isn't the first time this season that a player has faced the possibility of missing a game because his wife may go into labor. Ben Roethlisberger announced earlier this season that he will be missing a game should the birth of his first child fall on game day.
The exact date has not been announced in order to avoid angry fans that might want to voice their displeasure with his decision.
Arizona quarterback Kevin Kolb faced a similar situation earlier this season. His third child was due when the Cardinals were scheduled to play the Rams in Week Five. Like Big Ben he said he'd miss the game, but the little bundle of joy ended up coming early (September 27).
Even though he is doing the right thing, Tillman is catching a little flack for saying he would skip what could be the most important game of the season. Why couldn't they time the birth not to interfere football (because these things are always planned)? With the amount of money that guys like Tillman are getting paid you would think they would do whatever it takes to make sure they can play, right?
Houston's offense is no joke. Chicago really can't afford to lose anyone against such a tough opponent, especially someone as vital as Tillman. As important as the game is, the birth of his baby girl is much more important. There will always be another game, but a child is only born once.
UPDATE: Tillman says the baby will arrive Monday, so he'll play Sunday.
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