After retiring from the NFL, former Chicago Bears defensive back (and noted math enthusiast) Charles Tillman joined Fox Sports as an on-air commentator during the 2016 season. Two years later, his post-NFL career has taken a drastically different turn, as multiple news outlets report Tillman is now an FBI agent.
In a Saturday report for ESPN, Jeff Dickerson cited unnamed sources confirming Tillman joined the FBI Training Academy in Quantico, Virginia in 2017 and is now an active agent. As rumors surfaced of Tillman’s possible FBI training last year, the Chicago Tribune also cited “multiple individuals” confirming the speculation.
“We don’t speak about personnel matters,” special agent and Chicago bureau spokesman Garrett Croon told the Tribune.
Tillman earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette prior to being drafted by the Chicago Bears in 2003. Over the course of 13 NFL seasons Tillman was selected to the Pro Bowl twice and named the NFL Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2013.
There are also other ties to the intelligence community and armed forces. Tillman’s father, Donald Tillman Jr., was an army sergeant. Tillman reportedly observed and worked with law enforcement officials during the NFL offseason, spent over a week with American troops on a USO tour in Iraq and Kuwait in 2010 and won the NFL’s Salute to Service award in 2012.
Tillman helped lead the 2007 Chicago Bears to Super Bowl XLI and appeared with the 2015 Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl 50. Both the 2007 and 2015 Super Bowl appearances were in losing efforts.
Per FBI guidelines, “Special Agent Candidates must be at least 23 years old, but younger than 37 at the time of appointment.” Tillman turned 37 on February 23, 2017.