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Football: Former UL standout Tillman inks new deal with Bears

LAKE FOREST, Ill. – Former UL football standout Charles Tillman has locked himself into a long-term relationship with the Chicago Bears.

The former second-round NFL draft selection by the Bears came to terms with the club Tuesday on a six-year contract extension that runs through 2013.

"I’m glad to remain in Chicago," said Tillman. "I like playing for coach (Lovie) Smith. I like my teammates. I love the organization and I like the city, so it feels good."

Tillman has played 53 games and started 49 for the Bears in his four pro seasons after becoming the 35th player selected in the 2003 NFL draft. He had five interceptions for the second straight year last season, giving him 14 for his career.

Tillman was due to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2007 season. He has helped Chicago win 24 of 32 regular-season games and capture back-to-back division championships over the past two years.

Tillman, a product of Copperas Cove, Texas, was a two-time All-Sun Belt Conference first-team selection in 2001-02 and ranks second in UL history for career tackles by a defensive back (284). He also ranks fifth on the Ragin’ Cajuns’ all-time career interception list with 12 and led UL in pass thefts three straight seasons.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

"I commend the Bears for doing a great job of getting it done, and my agent as well," Tillman said. "They compromised, we compromised; no one was big-headed. They were willing to listen, we were willing to listen, and I think that’s how the deal ultimately got done."