Bears cornerback Charles Tillman celebrates after recovering a fumble… (David Banks / Getty Images )
Charles Tillman, the dynamic cornerback of the resurgent Chicago Bears, might miss Sunday's game against AFC powerhouse Houston to be at his wife Jackie's side as she delivers the couple's fourth child.
Tillman told WSCR-AM on Wednesday that the baby was expected to arrive by Monday and might require him to be at the hospital instead of the game.
“The wife is due any day, so hopefully this baby can stay in until after the game on Sunday,” Tillman said. “I hope she stays in -- I’m having another girl. Monday, for sure, but if she comes Sunday, I think I’m going to have to be at the hospital Sunday. So, I hope she stays in until after Sunday.”
The Bears and Texans, who are both 7-1, meet Sunday evening in a game to be nationally televised by NBC.
Tillman and his wife Jackie have a daughter, Tiana, who was born with a heart defect, making the birthing process an important part of parenting to him.
"This game is important to me, but after what we went through with my middle child Tiana, to me football is second," Tillman said. "It will always be second or third in my life."
Mixed signals came from the Bears camp, with Coach Lovie Smith supporting his star defensive back while linebacker Brian Urlacher said he expects Tillman to play.
"It's family first," Smith said. "How we look at it is like an injury. If a player can't go, the next guy up."
Urlacher was all business about the matter.
"I hope everything goes fine with the birth of the baby, but I'm 100% expecting him to be there," he said.