Panthers "Peanut" Tillman engages young crowd, talks life experiences

Published: Jan. 19, 2016 at 4:58 PM EST|Updated: Feb. 18, 2016 at 5:28 PM EST
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(Mark Davenport | WBTV)
(Mark Davenport | WBTV)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When word comes down a Carolina Panthers football player will be speaking to parents and students at your elementary school, make sure you have enough seating.

"Just to hear to hear Charles "Peanut" Tillman was going to be here that was enough to get us up very early this morning," said Lee Northcutt.

Northcutt's two sons attend Smithfield Elementary and he didn't want them to miss out on the cornerback's message.

A lot of parents had the same idea.

"Panthermania has hit Smithfield," said principal Allison Plunkett, in response to the turnout.

The school's cafeteria was as packed as it would be during lunchtime.

"It was amazing how quiet they were," said Plunkett. "They were extremely engaged. He's a great speaker."

Less than a week ago, Tillman had surgery to repair a torn ACL. In a few hours he'd be at rehab. In between, he carved out time for these students and their parents to pass along wisdom he's learned growing up.

"The biggest message I try to tell my kids more than anything is family is all we got at the end of the day," said Tillman. "Take care of your family."

Think before you act is another one of Tillman's main talking points, all of which are written out in a book he put together called "The Middle School Rules of Charles "Peanut" Tillman.

"This is a message for all of us," says Northcutt. "The choices and decisions and consequences that's a great motto to live by and I hope my two guys will always remember that."

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