Charles Tillman gave Super Bowl tickets to military family

Not long after winning the 2013 Walter Payton Man of the Year Award, Charles Tillman proved why he’s so worthy of the honor.

On Sunday morning, the Bears’ free agent cornerback posted on his Twitter account that he had a pair of Super Bowl XLVIII tickets to give away to a “deserving military family.”

Minutes later, Neeraj Singh, a friend of Sgt. Ryan Doltz, who was killed while on duty in Iraq in 2004, made his recommendation to Tillman.

After asking Singh to contact him privately, Tillman announced that he indeed awarded the tickets to the Doltz family.

Sure enough, Tillman stayed true to his word. New Jersey paramedic Greg Doltz, Ryan’s brother, and his wife, Tiffany, were present at MetLife Stadium for the NFL’s grandest spectacle.

Though genuinely touched by Tillman’s gesture, Doltz admitted to the Chicago Tribune that it caught him by complete surprise.

“Even up to the minute before I had the tickets in my hand, I thought the whole thing was a hoax,” Doltz said. “Even on the drive down, I told my wife, ‘If this turns out not to be real, let’s just go have fun at our friends’ house. It’ll still be worth the trip. Who cares?’

Doltz, however, was ultimately happy with the way it went down.

“It was so spur-of-the-moment,” he said. “And that was Ryan’s thing. He would drop everything he was doing to hang out with his friends. He would be in New Jersey, and his friend in Virginia would call to see what he was doing. And the next thing you knew, he would be getting in his car to drive to Virginia.”

Going above and beyond for the military and their families is nothing new to Tillman, who’s the son of an Army sergeant. He’s regularly traveled to Iraq as part of a USO tour, provided soldiers with tickets to Bears games, and took home the Salute to Service Award in 2012.

With all due respect to Walter Payton, it’s worth arguing that the Man of the Year Award should one day be renamed after Peanut.

[h/t ESPN Chicago]

Zack Kelberman
An award-winning sportswriter, reporter and blogger, Zack currently serves as the Miami Dolphins live correspondent and Team Stream curator for Bleacher Report. He's also a freelance NFL writer and the founder/editor-in-chief of Helmet2Helmet. His work has appeared on media outlets such as ESPN, Sports Illustrated, FOX Sports,,, and Zack can be reached on Twitter (@ZackKelberman) or via email (