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Former NFL Player Pat Tillman killed in Action

Old 04-23-04, 10:28 AM
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Former NFL Player Pat Tillman killed in Action

ABC is reporting it now.

"Pat Tillman gave up an NFL career to enlist in the Army Rangers after the Sept. 11 attacks. Tillman has been killed while serving in Afghanistan"





update:




from abcnews.com

April 23 — Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who swapped a glamorous football career to enlist in the U.S. Army, has been killed in action in Afghanistan, ABCNEWS has learned.

The Tillman family has been notified, a Pentagon source told ABCNEWS, but there were no details of his death available.

A former member of the Arizona Cardinals, Tillman, along with his brother Kevin, enrolled with the U.S. Army Rangers after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.

Last year, the brothers were awarded an Arthur Ashe Courage Award meant for individuals whose contributions transcend sports. The award was accepted by their younger brother, Richard, while the brothers were away.

Last edited by Kicker_of_Elves; 04-23-04 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 04-23-04, 10:29 AM
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Former AZ Cardinal Pat Tillman killed in Afghanistan

A locan news station, ABC 15 here in Phoenix has just reported that ex AZ Cardinal player turned Army Ranger Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan. I'm looking for a online link and will copy the story as soon as I can.

Certainly a sad day for all the NFL. He certainly was a great guy on and off the field. Thoughts and prayers to his family and his brother still in Afghanistan.
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Old 04-23-04, 10:29 AM
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A class guy who will be missed. A real hero, walking away from a dream to do what he felt was right. Dont worry Pat, we'll make sure you get to sack Osama's ass.

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Old 04-23-04, 10:32 AM
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He gave up the NFL to join the Army Rangers after 9/11. This would be my definision of an Amarican hero. R.I.P. Pat and thank you for your sacrifice.
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Old 04-23-04, 10:32 AM
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Horrible. He left a 3 year, $3.6 million contract on the table to go after Sept. 11. He and his brother both went. Heres the NFL.Com story when he left.

http://www.nfl.com/insider/story/5701425
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Old 04-23-04, 10:34 AM
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God, this is terrible. My thoughts and prayers are with that family. True patriotism at its finiest.
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Old 04-23-04, 10:34 AM
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Here is a small link:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/4815441/
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Old 04-23-04, 10:35 AM
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I toast to Pat.



And thank him for his sacrifice for the rest of us.

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Old 04-23-04, 10:39 AM
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Those who know Pat Tillman know that he always has welcomed a challenge.

As a youth, he high-dived from bridges and cliffs. At Arizona State, he hopped the fence at Sun Devil Stadium and climbed a light tower. Before reporting for training camp with the Arizona Cardinals two years ago, he competed in a 70-mile triathlon.

"He's like Forrest Gump. He tries everything," says Frank Sanders, his former teammate.

So no one should have been surprised last spring when Tillman, entering his fourth NFL season, shucked it all and joined his brother, Kevin, in setting out to become an Army Ranger. What's a three-year, $3.6 million pro football contract when you can collect $18,000 a year from Uncle Sam?


Pat Tillman gave up the glamour of the NFL to serve his country.

"Pat has very deep and true convictions," Cardinals coach Dave McGinnis said at the time. "He's a deep thinker, and believe me, this was something he thought out."

Tillman made no public statement. He wasn't in this for the publicity. But you didn't need to dig too deeply to find an explanation for his actions. Friends said that the 9/11 terrorist attacks had affected him deeply. Cardinals defensive coordinator Larry Marmie, after a conversation with his former player, said Tillman felt he needed to "pay something back" for the comfortable life he had been afforded.

Whatever his rationale, he clearly was serious about his pursuit. He and Kevin completed basic training in July and advanced through individual training in October. They graduated from parachute school in November, and completed the Ranger Indoctrination Program in December. Just that quickly, Tillman was assigned to the second battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Washington.

"He's a full-fledged Ranger now," Army spokesperson Carol Darby reported. "He's ready for combat. He will move with his unit for whatever that unit is involved in."

The 75th Ranger Regiment was deployed recently, presumably to the Middle East. If the description that the Army attaches to the unit ("flexible, highly trained, and rapidly deployed light infantry force with specialized skills") is any measure, the 75th likely will wind up in the middle of the most serious action.

You can be sure that Tillman will be prepared for the challenge. He succeeds at just about everything he sets out to do.

Consider…

He arrived at Arizona State in 1994 on the school's last remaining football scholarship, landing a spot on the end of the bench, where dreams go to expire. He left four seasons later as the Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year.

He was selected by the Cardinals with the 226th pick of the 1998 draft -- the league packed up and went home after pick 241 -- and five months later, he was Arizona's starting strong safety.

This is a fellow who doesn't know the meaning of fail -- on the field, in the classroom, or anywhere else. He had a 3.84 grade-point average at ASU and graduated with a degree in marketing in 3˝ years.

Pat Tillman is nothing if not unusual. In college, he played linebacker, where he was thought to be too small. In the NFL, he played safety, where he was thought to be too slow. When he set a club record for tackles in 2000 and attracted the interest of another team, the St. Louis Rams, he declined their five-year offer sheet out of loyalty to the club that had drafted him.

NFL players hardly have been strangers to military service. Roger Staubach served four years after graduating from the Naval Academy before joining the Dallas Cowboys as a 27-year-old rookie in 1969. Rocky Bleier of the Pittsburgh Steelers nearly lost a leg to a land mine when he did a tour of duty in Vietnam.

But the list of names grows a little shorter when it comes to NFL players who have walked away from million-dollar contracts in the prime of their careers.

The story that comes to mind is one told by Bruce Snyder, Tillman's coach at Arizona State. It seems that Snyder planned to redshirt Tillman as a freshman, extending his eligibility by a season. Of course, that would necessitate Tillman remaining in college for an extra year.

"You can do whatever you want with me," Tillman said, "but in four years I'm gone. I've got things to do with my life."
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Old 04-23-04, 10:39 AM
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From the Arizona Cardinals teampage when he announced.

http://www.nfl.com/teams/story/ARI/5364143

He enlisted 2 weeks after returning home from his honeymoon and wanted to return to the NFL when he got home.
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Old 04-23-04, 10:48 AM
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A true American hero.
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Old 04-23-04, 10:49 AM
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The NFL’s Lonely Hero Print Friendly Format
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By Paul Beston
Published 12/4/2003 12:05:11 AM


Watching football on Thanksgiving weekend reminded me of younger days when the NFL was a passion of mine. In recent years it has become more of a diversionary interest, and I no longer know who is who, or which teams are the ones to beat. While the league is still blessed with some admirable players, the ones I tend to remember now, unfortunately, are those who behave notoriously off the field or insufferably on it. But sitting among family on the holiday, I happily remembered Pat Tillman, the best story the NFL has had in many years.

Pat Tillman was the starting strong safety for the Arizona Cardinals when the 9/11 attacks occurred. He played out the 2001 season and then with his brother Kevin, a former minor league baseball player, enlisted in the Army Rangers. In doing so, Tillman walked away from a three-year, $3.6 million dollar contract with the Cardinals for an $18,000 salary and plentiful opportunities to get his head shot off. That hasn't happened yet, and God willing it won't. But the pay cut kicked in right away.

Some Internet surfing revealed that the Tillman brothers are currently deployed somewhere in the Middle East with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. On the weekend before Thanksgiving, the brothers spoke briefly with their parents, who do not know where they are or what mission they are pursuing. They do know that their sons were in Iraq in the spring during the height of the fighting, and that this summer they were briefly stateside at Fort Lewis in Tacoma, Washington.

Outside of an ESPY award earlier this year and the occasional column, Tillman's story has gotten little press, but it's not all the media's fault. For one thing, as Tillman's parents well know, there is precious little information. For another, the Tillmans have not granted a single interview since their enlistment. Apparently determined that their endeavor not be construed as self-aggrandizing or insincere, they have simply done what they said they would do -- leave behind the fantasy world of sports to serve their country.

It would be a remarkable story in any time, but in a more cynical age it is nothing short of breathtaking. Imagine a 26-year old American male, talented enough to play in the National Football League and earn millions of dollars, leaving because he felt he had more important things to do. What could be more important than riches and fame? Why sacrifice when our culture so often portrays sacrifice as the preserve of misfits and losers? For many observers, Tillman's decision had to have an explanation more rational, and less abstract, than mere nobility.

Certainly that was the attitude of Tillman's former teammate Simeon Rice, who now plays with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Rice suggested that Tillman might be joining the army because he wasn't a very good football player anyway. While Tillman was not an All-Pro, he did set a Cardinals team record with 224 tackles in 2000. Even if Rice's charge were true, it takes an especially small person to voice such a thought publicly. But then the NFL happens to be densely populated with such men, including Rice's Tampa Bay teammate, the repulsive Warren Sapp.

In his inability to understand Tillman's patriotism, Rice no doubt spoke for many of his NFL colleagues. His incomprehension was further in evidence when, prompted by an interviewer, he acknowledged that his former teammate's decision was "admirable." Did Rice belatedly realize that it was patriotism -- one of the oldest virtues -- that had motivated Tillman? Of course not:

"Maybe it was the Rambo movies?" he asked. "Maybe it's Sylvester Stallone and Rocky?"

Right. If it isn't pure self-interest, then it must be unadulterated fantasy. Such is the mentality of a good portion of professional athletes today, particularly in the NFL, a once-proud league now overrun by exhibitionists whose constant preening is often difficult to distinguish from professional wrestling.

While media coverage of the Tillman story has been very positive, a subtle "wait and see" attitude prevails in some of the pieces that have been written, as if some revelation about a big-bucks contract, or perhaps a movie deal, will surface sooner or later to compromise his decision. The "mystery" some commentators see in Tillman's actions is almost certainly the result of his refusal to grant interviews; if he would only sit for a weepy tell-all, all of their doubts could be put to rest.

For most normal people, though, the story is pretty simple -- somewhere in the Middle East, Pat Tillman is serving the United States because he believes it is his duty. Meanwhile, back in the NFL, a contingent of helmeted narcissists -- Rice, Sapp, Jeremy Shockey, take your pick -- grow rich. The closest any of them will come to war is in the numbing military metaphors that have long been part of the repertoire of NFL players, coaches and broadcasters.

Pat Tillman knows where the real war is, which is why he left the fake one behind. If he decides to return to football when his three-year tour of duty is up, he would have the impact of a human disinfectant on the NFL. And his fellow players would owe him their gratitude -- even Simeon Rice, assuming he can reach that high.
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Old 04-23-04, 10:56 AM
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The NFL is holding a 1PM EST press conference.

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Old 04-23-04, 11:00 AM
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That's pretty sad. I feel for his parents. It certainly gives a human face to the bloodiness of war.
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Old 04-23-04, 11:01 AM
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... It's odd that just this morning KTAR news radio announced that he had contacted his parents and that he was ok... the Arizona Tribune ran the same article...

I guess it's too much to hope for that this is all just a mixup ...
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Old 04-23-04, 11:05 AM
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Pat Tillman is a real hero.

RIP Pat
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Old 04-23-04, 11:10 AM
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I don't toss around the word "hero" lightly. But it's deserved here.

RIP, Pat. You are a hero.
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Old 04-23-04, 11:18 AM
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Ya know, I was watching A League Of Their Own SE and when they were showing athletes signing up and being shipped out to the war, I thought:

"Yeah right, you'd never see an athlete do that today."

Guess I was wrong. Too bad I had to find out this way..
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Old 04-23-04, 11:25 AM
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Originally posted by LurkerDan
I don't toss around the word "hero" lightly. But it's deserved here.

RIP, Pat. You are a hero.
Here, here.

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Old 04-23-04, 11:29 AM
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Old 04-23-04, 11:39 AM
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Originally posted by harpoonipa
He gave up the NFL to join the Army Rangers after 9/11. This would be my definision of an Amarican hero. R.I.P. Pat and thank you for your sacrifice.
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Old 04-23-04, 11:42 AM
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Very sad. Truly one of the classiest people that was ever in the NFL.
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Old 04-23-04, 11:44 AM
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My thoughts Pat.
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Old 04-23-04, 11:58 AM
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Truely an appropriate time to use the terms 'hero' and 'warrior' when describing a person that played professional sports.

Kind puts it in perspective when you hear those words being said about some guy that works through a bruised finger to come out and play 8 mins. of basketball.

God Bless Pat Tillman and sincere condolences to his family.
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Old 04-23-04, 12:00 PM
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R.I.P.
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