Despite being injured and not playing this Sunday, what’s it like to be back at the Super Bowl?
Charles Tillman: It’s been fun, man. I think I’ve enjoyed it more the second time just because of what we’ve done this season and the process and just the moment. I’ve enjoyed all of it. From media day to the camaraderie and the fellowship that the guys have, taking pictures, the locker room, etc. It’s definitely been exciting. The guys are having a lot of fun.
Being a veteran in the game and as someone who’s been to the Super Bowl, what’s some specific advice you’ve given to Cam [Newton] and some of the other players to get them ready?
CT: Don’t get distracted by anything. We’re here to win a game. Go out, have fun, be safe, but don’t be that guy that gets sent home for doing something stupid. There’ll be plenty of time to go party and kick it and hang out, but you can do that in another week. Just focus on the task at hand: winning the Super Bowl. Don’t be that guy.
Switching gears, there’s been a lot of controversy this season with all the head injuries and concussions. We have the movie with Will Smith, we’ve seen some former players come out and talk about it. Is that something you’ve thought about moving forward? Does it have any effect on a potential retirement plan?
CT: I don’t think that’s effected myself. I look at it as it’s all about what you do with your life after football, what you do currently doing while you’re in the game. I thank guys who have taken the proper steps to litigate head injuries as much as possible. The science is out there, the facts are out there, the NFL provides certain documents and information to try to help prevent guys from receiving concussions, they changed the rules. Our game is changing, so they’re trying to protect us as much as possible without taking away too much fun from the game, but it doesn’t hinder me from returning to this game that I love so much.
You and your wife Jackie do a ton of amazing philanthropic work with your foundation, The Cornerstone Foundation. Why is it so important for you to give back?
CT: I think it’s important [for me] to give back because somebody gave back to me. When my daughter received her heart transplant back in 2008, that’s probably the greatest gift I’ve ever received. My daughter getting a second chance at life because of this donor, I get to see my daughter go to school for the first day, see a tooth come out for the first time, watch her have her first Christmas, watch her play basketball, watch her play sports. I get to see all the things she’s gonna want to do in life. All her firsts, I’m gonna get to be there to see that because this woman, a complete stranger, she gave something to our family. So I think that cycle of giving is something that I try to implement in my life. Someone blessed me so I’m trying to bless others as well.