A former NFL player who made $51 million in his career is now an FBI agent

  • Former All-Pro cornerback Charles Tillman is now an FBI agent.
  • Tillman completed his training just before his 37th birthday, the cutoff for new agents.
  • Tillman made $US51 million in his career but has a long track record of giving back to and serving the community.

Charles Tillman retired from the NFL after the 2015 season and the former All-Pro cornerback has now found his next calling.

According to Bobby Clay of the Sporting News, Tillman is now an FBI agent. Brad Biggs of the Chicago Tribune first reported in September that Tillman was in the midst of a 20-month training program to become an FBI agent.

A source told Clay that Tillman graduated from the program and became an agent just prior to his 37th birthday. This was key as the FBI stipulates that new agents must be appointed before turning 37.

Tillman spent 12 of his 13 seasons with the Chicago Bears, grabbed 36 interceptions and helped lead the team to its only Super Bowl appearance in the past 30 years. He also made $US51 million in his career.

After signing a one-day contract to retire as a Bear last July, he spent the 2016 season as a studio analyst on the “Fox NFL Kickoff” show, but it seems the television gig didn’t suit him.

While the FBI’s Chicago bureau doesn’t comment on personnel matters, former Bears head coach Dave Wannstedt, a longtime panelist on the Fox show, said he was aware of the reason for Tillman’s departure.

“First-class,” Wannstedt said of Tillman. “What a guy. Charles Tillman is as good as they come and I had a great time working with him.”

Tillman’s personal history is rooted in service. Born into a military family, he earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from the University of Louisiana-Lafayette and once spent eight days in the Middle East on a USO tour visit. His charity, the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, works to improve the lives of children in the Chicago area.

His work hasn’t gone unrecognised. The 37 year old won the NFL’s Salute to Service Award in 2012 and was the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2013.

In a 2016 interview with Make It Better magazine, Tillman told Willie Griswold about his passion for law enforcement.

“So I’m all about our military and supporting our men and women in uniform,” he said. “[I’m also interested in] helping police officers and law enforcement, I’m big into that. A lot of my friends are law enforcement officers and [I like to] support them as well.”

Sam Belden contributed to this report.

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