Vikings wouldn't bar player from missing game to attend childbirth
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EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. -- Chicago cornerback Charles Tillman caused a stir this week when he said he might miss the Bears' game against Houston on Sunday if his pregnant wife goes into labor.
Tillman since has backed off that statement, saying the baby is due to arrive on Monday and he'll play after all. But other players have found themselves in similar situations.
Minnesota Vikings coach Leslie Frazier said on Friday he granted offensive lineman Joe Berger permission to miss a game earlier this season and the decision to play or not always will be in the player's hands.
"All of us that have kids, we know the importance," said Frazier, who has three children. "If Dad can be there, you want Dad there. I know my wife appreciated my being able to be there."
Berger's wife ended up giving birth the following week.
Viking end Jared Allen praised Tillman, saying he's a bigger man for putting his family first. Allen added he was willing to miss the Vikings' game last Oct. 30. His daughter, Brinley Noelle, ended up being born three days before the game.
"I already told Coach, hey, if I get a call in the third quarter, I'm walking off the field," Allen said. "I'm leaving. For me, there's nothing more important than family."
That was a relatively meaningless game for a Vikings team that was 1-6 at the time, though. What if it were the playoffs, or the Super Bowl?
"We're inducing before the Super Bowl," Allen said, laughing.