Chicago Bears head coach Lovie Smith supports cornerback Charles Tillman’s decision to miss Sunday night’s game if his wife ends up going into labor on Sunday.
“It’s family first,” Smith said, per the Chicago Sun-Times. “If there is something you feel like you need to do for your family always do that. How we look at it is like an injury. If a player can’t go, it’s next guy up. We’ll keep going.”
Tillman believes his family should come first.
“At the end of the day, [family is] all that you have,” Tillman said later after practice. “This game is important to me, but after what we went through with my middle child Tiana (who was diagnosed with a rare heart disease), to me football is second.
“It’ll always be second or third in my life. That was a great lesson learned, to teach me that family — when I’m done playing football — my family will always be there for me.”
Tillman plans on playing on Sunday night if his daughter is born in the morning.
“Yeah, I’ll be there,” he said.
Tillman’s teammates support him as well.
“It’s take care of your family. We understand how things are run around here,” receiver Brandon Marshall said. “This is a special group. Coach Smith is a special guy, definitely in how he runs things, and … you take on the character of your leader. That’s what he preaches — family comes first.”
I’ve said this before and I’ll say this again, I have no problems with Tillman putting his family first. I think more players need to follow suit.