He played for the Saints from 1967-70. He played two seasons with Houston before being traded to the Falcons for a 1973 first-round draft pick (14th overall).
Tilleman was inducted into the Saints Hall of Fame and the Montana Football Hall of Fame.
Tilleman had a trademark head slap, then legal. His slap upside the offensive lineman’s helmet was so fierce that an opposing offensive lineman once said he’d rather catch flying javelins than to get smacked by Tilleman.
“Of course, in that era, it was not easy for a defensive tackle to get any All-Pro or even Pro Bowl mention with names like Bob Lilly, Merlin Olsen, Alan Page, and Joe Greene in the NFL and in their prime,” according to the Pro Football Journal blog. “Also in the NFL were up-and-comers like Curley Culp and Mike Reid. So Tilleman’s seasons from 1970-73, which were very good, went little-noticed though he averaged 90 tackles and seven sacks a season.”
Tilleman was born on March 30, 1944, in Chinook, Mont.
After his playing career, Tilleman moved back to Montana. He ran Tilleman Motor Co. and worked in the cattle industry. He was heavily involved with charity work and community service in Montana.
Tilleman is survived by his wife, Gloria, along with children Suzanne, Christopher, and Craig.
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