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Watch: After two heavyweights call it a career, Charles Tillman pens an open letter to Calvin Johnson

“Never again will they double or triple cover you, only to all come up short together.”

Detroit Lions v Chicago Bears Photo by David Banks/Getty Images

Charles Tillman and Calvin Johnson had quite the rivalry over their collective 22 years in the NFL. Chicago Bears and Detroit Lions fans knew they had a heavyweight fight to look forward to any time the two teams met, regardless of each team’s record or position in the standings.

Both players ended their NFL careers this year, putting to bed two of the greatest careers each respective franchise had ever witnessed. While Calvin is off busy chasing a “Dancing with the Stars” title, Tillman narrated an amazing tribute to Megatron.

You absolutely have to watch it here.

The video follows the career of both players, but reads as a letter written to Calvin, thanking him for his outstanding career. The transcript of the video is below:

Dear Calvin,

It’s me, Charles. Charles Tillman. A lot of people know me as Peanut, the former All-Pro cornerback for the Chicago Bears. They also may recall my two NFC titles, my NFL Man of the Year award, or any of my 44 career forced fumbles. But you, Calvin, you might recognize me best like this: Standing directly across from you in anticipation of what you are about to do next. Two games a year for seven seasons. And to think, people complain about going to the dentist twice a year?

Now let’s not forget, I’ve won a few rounds myself, and there were times when you had to clean up after me. But the “Peanut Punch” never seemed to work on you, and sometimes I got a little desperate. Sorry. Sorry again.

But that was us: Two heavyweights trading blows for four quarters. So maybe it’s fitting that this past offseason we both decided to hang them up for good. The game, of course, goes on. But take it from me, without Megatron, it’s just not the same.

Just ask these guys, my fellow defensive backs. That sound you heard when you announced your retirement, that was them exhaling. Never again will they work up the courage to meet you head-on only to be brushed aside. Nor will they time their jumps perfectly, only to realize they somehow weren’t perfect enough. And never again will they double or triple cover you, only to all come up short together.

Despite all of the parts of your game that they won’t miss, and believe me there are plenty, there’s one in particular that they will. And while character never makes it to a highlight reel, it’s what made defending you all those years special.

So thank you, Calvin, for keeping your celebrations small, no matter how great your triumphs. For giving your teammates and fans everything you had, no matter how the scoreboard looked. And for making every man who lined up against you better, especially an old rival.

You retired from football the same way you played it, on your own terms, knowing no one could stop you if they tried.

May God bless you in this next chapter,


UPDATE: Calvin Johnson responded to Tillman’s letter on Instagram:

A photo posted by Calvin Johnson, Jr. (@megatron) on

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