Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman and Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson gave each other Thanksgiving gifts when the teams played last month in the form of exchanged jerseys.
In the past, they’ve had some great battles in the NFC North. But only one of them played in the November matchup as Tillman has been on injured reserve since September with a ruptured triceps muscle. Johnson, with Tillman not following him around as normal, had 11 catches for 146 yards and two touchdowns against the Bears in a 34-17 Detroit win.
“I wrote: ‘Hey man, you’re a great competitor. You make me a better player,’ ” Tillman said on The Brandon Marshall Show on ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday. “I used to tell someone this is like the classic Muhammad Ali-Joe Frazier fight. It’s just two heavyweights going at it.
“He’s going to win some rounds. I’m gonna win some rounds. But overall, I want to win the fight. He makes you bring your game. I think arguably he’s the best receiver in the game right now.”
Tillman said he had success against Johnson when the two played each other in the past, but he loves going against Johnson.
“There’s just something about his style and his approach to the game,” Tillman said. “The way he judges the ball, his big size. I love the competition.”
Johnson has 57 catches for 882 yards and six touchdowns this season despite missing three games and being limited in two others. Johnson’s yardage is 19th in the NFL and his receptions are tied for 28th.
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