Charles Tillman says he only wants to play for Panthers

If Charles Tillman returns for a 14th NFL season, he only wants to play for the Carolina Panthers.

It's a sentiment he conveyed following the season, and on Saturday, he made it clear that his thoughts haven't changed as he continues his rehab from surgery five months ago to repair his torn ACL.

"I just want to play for Carolina," he said, according to NOLA.com on Saturday in Slidell, Louisiana, where he was helping former Chicago Bears teammate Matt Forte with his football camp.

Tillman tore his ACL in Week 17 last season, forcing him to miss the Panthers' run to the Super Bowl. On Saturday, he said he's "probably another two months" away from being able to contribute, and if he signs with a team it likely would be near the end of training camp.

Tillman, 35, signed a one-year deal with the Panthers last offseason after spending his first 12 NFL seasons with the Bears. He said that last season with the Panthers he "felt like I had been there my entire career," according to NOLA.com.

"That's the only team I really want to play for," he said, according to NOLA.com. "It's Carolina. It's a great group of men. ... A great group of coaches. The front-office guys are great. To me it was no surprise they were, or we were, 17-2."

It's unclear if the Panthers would be interested in a reunion with Tillman. The team drafted three cornerbacks this year, and Bené Benwikere is expected to be ready for training camp after breaking his leg last December.

He is a two-time Pro Bowl selection best known for the "peanut punch,'' his way of separating the football from an opponent by punching it at key pressure points. Tillman forced 42 fumbles during his first 12 NFL seasons. That was more than any defensive back since the statistic began being recorded in 1984.

Tillman forced two fumbles and had two interceptions this past season, giving him 44 career forced fumbles and 38 interceptions.

ESPN Panthers reporter David Newton contributed to this report.

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