Manual Grad Still Hoping for NFL Shot

Local Sports

PEORIA, Ill. — He worked out, was drafted and played five games in the XFL.

But the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the spring pro football season before Logan Tuley-Tillman’s first place team had a chance to make a playoff run.

“The week we got shut down, we didn’t expect anything,” said Tillman, who moved from tackle to center for the DC Defenders. “We thought we’d play the next week with no fans.”

Last year, the 6-7, 315-pound lineman played for Memphis in the now-defunct Alliance of American Football (AAF). Two spring leagues that folded before they could finish.

He’s not discouraged. The former Michigan and UTEP player says these leagues are helping keep his NFL dreams alive.

“Finally, being out there and proving myself in pro football,” said the 25-year-old. “It was more of a reminder of why you do it.”

The Peoria Manual Academy grad is back home trying to stay in shape for any potential NFL training camp calls he might receive. He’s also trying to encourage the high school players he’s worked with the past few years in his LTT lineman camps.

Some of those students won’t have a traditional graduation ceremony due to the pandemic. And some of those athletes had their sports seasons cancelled.

Just like him.

“The biggest thing I say is to focus on the process, not the product,” Tillman said. “You’re going to play somewhere on somebody’s field or court at some point. If you’re prepared for that, it’s up to you.”

Sounds like something he’s been telling himself for a while.

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