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Former NFL cornerback Charles Tillman had a long, productive career with the Chicago Bears. Now that he’s retired, however, he’s found a new life and a second calling. What is Tillman up to, exactly? Well, he’s been an FBI agent. The 40-year-old can’t reveal too much about it, because then he’d have to kill you. But in all seriousness, Tillman has been able to lead a life many can only dream of with two dream jobs. 

Read on to learn more about Tillman’s unconventional career, retirement path, and life outside of the FBI and football. 

Charles Tillman had a solid NFL career

Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears hugs Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints after a 2014 game
Cornerback Charles Tillman of the Chicago Bears in 2014 | Brian Kersey/Getty Images

According to Bleacher Nation, 2021 is Tillman’s first year of Hall of Fame eligibility. While this year’s class is loaded with no-doubters like Peyton Manning and Calvin Johnson, he’ll have a good shot based on merit. Tillman played 12 years with the Chicago Bears, hauling in 36 picks and nine touchdowns. The player known as “Peanut” forced plenty of turnovers with a signature move called the “Peanut Punch.” It helped him cause 42 fumbles over the course of his career. Tillman also helped guide the Carolina Panthers to a 15-1 season and a Super Bowl appearance in 2015. 

The argument for Tillman as a first-ballot Hall of Famer this year is dicey due to his eligible peers. Manning, Johnson, and Charles Woodson are all sure to get in, so competition will be fierce. But paired with his gridiron exploits, Tillman’s life outside of the game has been equally amazing. 

Tillman is currently an FBI agent

After Tillman called it quits, he didn’t sit on his couch. He got another job — one that football players rarely take on.  

A 2018 Chicago Tribune report stated that Tillman became an FBI agent after going through the agency’s training academy. Tillman didn’t comment for the story and has been tight-lipped about his role with the FBI.

This isn’t uncommon for those working for intelligence agencies. In many cases, details of their jobs are matters of national security, so they aren’t at liberty to say much. FBI agents with secret clearances are often bound by law not to reveal anything about what they see in the line of duty. 

There is a multitude of jobs within the larger organization of the FBI, but many people who enter become either agents or analysts. Agents often serve their duty in the field while analysts are in the office, scrutinizing data and reports to present to leadership. 

Charles Tillman has plenty of achievements outside of the FBI and football

Alongside his career as a federal official and his football legacy, Tillman also has plenty of philanthropic efforts. He won the 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, given each year to one player for their philanthropic efforts. He’s gone on USO Tours abroad to show his support for the troops. He’s got his own children’s charity called the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation 

According to WGN, Tillman also supports two efforts that provide help to sick children: Row4Kids and the Beckley Foundation. He even rowed across Lake Michigan to raise funds and awareness. Tillman’s motivation? His young daughter, who nearly died in 2008 after being diagnosed with dilated cardiomyopathy. Tillman said this is the spark that ignited his charitable flame: “I just wanted to do anything with the money as far as helping out families as best we could.” 

He’s done plenty. He may be a (somewhat) secret agent and an outstanding former NFL player, but this might be Tillman’s greatest contribution of all.