Charles Tillman Says Kuechly Is Best Linebacker In NFL

You probably know Charles Tillman as cornerback of the Carolina Panthers, which makes sense – mainly because that’s what he is. The former second-round pick and two-time Pro Bowler signed with Carolina this offseason after more than a decade in Chicago and has helped the Panthers to a 7-0 start.

Good stuff.

But Tillman is doing more with his life than just playing football. He’s also an author. In fact, his new book, “The Middle School Rules of Charles Tillman: ‘Peanut,’” came out this week.

Why write a book?

“Why not?” Tillman asked on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “That’s what everyone’s doing, right? You don’t have a book?”

Actually, Gottlieb has one in the works.

“See?” Tillman said. “There you go. Everyone’s doing it.”

Tillman, who co-authored the book with Sean Jensen, said it took roughly four months to write. The book is a series of short stories for middle-school children.

“Basically, they’re just about my struggles as a kid, things that I went through, the good decisions, the bad decisions,” Tillman said. “I got profiled as a kid when I was in junior high, (what happened when) my parents got divorced, dealing with bullying, dealing with death. You name it, it’s probably in this book. I failed a class. I talked about that. It’s a lot of stuff, a lot of stuff.”

Getting back to the field, Tillman also talked at length about Carolina’s stout defense, which is allowing just 19.4 points per game, ranks ninth in the league in sacks (20) and is second in interceptions (12).

Tillman was asked to compare Brian Urlacher, his former teammate and 2005 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year, to Luke Kuechly, the 2013 AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

“Brian is a lot bigger and taller and – I don’t want to say more athletic – but yeah, for his size, he’s more athletic,” Tillman said. “Kuechly, he’s not as big as Brian, but I think he might be a little faster than Brian. I think that’s what makes Luke so good – his ability to know where the play is going to be before the play even happens. And you tag that on with speed? Man, it’s pick your poison. The dude’s unstoppable. He’s a great player. Greatest linebacker in the league right now.”

Tillman believes this year’s Panther defense stacks up favorably to Chicago’s 2006 defense that helped the Bears reach the Super Bowl.

“We stack up pretty good,” Tillman said. “I would have to actually look at some stats and compare it, but personnel-wise, we stack up quite equally. I’ve been on some great defenses, and the current defense that I’m on right now, yeah, they’re good without me. They were good last year. So they stack up. We’re quite comparable. . . . I signed with (the Panthers) because I felt like they had the best chance at winning a Super Bowl.”

Carolina (7-0) hosts Green Bay (6-1) this Sunday in a matchup of the top two teams in the NFC. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. ET.

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