COPPERAS COVE — The Economic Development Corporation dedicated Charles Tillman Way on Friday in honor of the Chicago Bears cornerback and former Copperas Cove Bulldawgs standout.
“I don’t think I am deserving of a road, but I will take it,” Tillman told the crowd.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Tillman holds the Bears’ team records for defensive touchdowns and interception-return touchdowns. In 2013, he received the Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year award.
In high school, he helped Cove end a 40-year football playoff drought.
Tillman is an inspiration on and off the field, said Jack Welch, Copperas Cove Independent School District athletic director.
He affects the lives of about a half-million people a year through the Charles Tillman Cornerstone Foundation, which provides opportunities and resources to children and families in need, said Col. Glenn Gildon, commander of the Fort Hood Mobilization Brigade, during the dedication ceremony.
Gildon said Charles Tillman Way also will have an effect on people’s lives as it will lead to a future primary-employer hub for the city.
“Cove is growing,” Tillman said. “Cove is definitely on the up and coming. ... Hopefully Charles Tillman Way can change lives.”
Bears fans were among those who watched the corporation’s vice chairwoman, Bradi Diaz, hand Tillman a street sign bearing his name.
“My husband is a huge fan of Charles,” said Celisse Moyer, as she clenched her husband’s favorite Tillman jersey, which Tillman signed. Gabriel Moyer, a soldier, is currently deployed.
“He is going to be so excited,” Celisse Moyer said.
Kim Miller, another Tillman fan, said it was fitting for the city to name a street after the NFL player.
“It is awesome,” Miller said. “He has done so much. He is a good person and just remembers the military and the community where he came from.”
Upon completion, Charles Tillman Way will lead to one entrance into the 72-acre Narrows Business and Technology Park and will connect Robert Griffin III Boulevard to Constitution Drive.