Sergeant Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman Foundation

It took a tragedy, but the sports world finally has a true definition for the word "hero." Pat Tillman
Pat Tillman (November 6, 1976 – April 22, 2004) was an American football player who, in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks, abruptly left his professional sports career and enlisted in the United States Army. He served in Iraq and, later, in Afghanistan where he was killed by friendly fire. Reports in the media of his death and the background of his sacrifice symbolized a heroic image in the minds of many Americans.
Pat Tillman earned a scholarship to play football at Arizona State University. At ASU, he earned a 3.84 grade point average and graduated summa cum laude in 3-and-a-half years with a degree in marketing. The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Tillman was recognized for his rugged play and intelligence. As an undersized linebacker at ASU, he helped lead the Sun Devils to the 1996 Rose Bowl and was the Pac-10's Defensive Player of the Year in 1997.
Corporal Tillman was drafted in the seventh-round by the Arizona Cardinals in 1998 and became their starting strong safety. In practice, coaches often had to make Tillman slow down so that he would not hurt anyone because he always played at full-speed. Before the 2000 season, he ran a marathon. Despite being on five foot 11 inches tall, he set a team record for tackles in 2000. Before the 2001 season, he participated in a triathlon.
In an interview after the attacks on September 11, 2001, despite all of his accomplishments Tillman said,
"And I haven't done a damn thing as far as laying myself on the line."
In May 2002 — eight months after Sept. 11 — Tillman turned his back on a job paying more than 1 million dollars a year to risk his life for a job paying $17,316 a year. Tillman and his brother, Kevin — a baseball player in the Cleveland organization — joined the Army Rangers.
The Rangers are soldiers who serve as shock troops, raiders and commandos who strike behind enemy lines. Every Ranger volunteers for the duty and must pass rigorous physical tests to serve.
Before making the decision to join the Army, Sgt. Tillman also turned down a contract with the St. Louis Rams for more than 3 million dollars a year because he wanted to continue playing for the team that gave him his NFL start — the Cardinals.
Sgt. Tillman, just married to his long time girlfriend a National Football League player earning millions of dollars, gave it all up. He turned his back on fame and fortune to serve his country.

On April 22, 2004, Sgt. Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan- he was 27 years old.
There is a lesson here for all of those who live their life sitting on a couch watching television, take drugs, drink too much, who ask why me and take there freedom for granted. Sgt. Tillman lived his life with honor, dignity, determination and courage.


Pat Tillman was a True American Hero