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Remembering Pat Tillman

Thursday, October 27, 2016 10:17
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By Douglas V. Gibbs
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“Be passionate about it.  Otherwise, why do it?” — Pat Tillman

The NFL Network’s “A Football Life” is one of the television programs I enjoy watching.  They dig deeper into the personalities of the game, giving you more than their life on the field.  Who were these players?  What motivated them?  What kind of backgrounds did they come from?

In his short career Pat Tillman was able to do something few players have done. . . reach a level where the word “legendary” applies.

A part of the Pat Tillman story, however, reaches far beyond the football field.  While he was excelling at the game, considered as one of the premier safeties out there, he made a decision that went beyond putting it all on the field.  He decided to also put it all out there for his country.


He began his football ascension for all of us to see at Arizona State University.  Then, as an Arizona Cardinal, he lit it up.  After 9/11, however, the patriot deep inside Pat Tillman led him to enlist in the United States Army in 2002, a two year military career that ended with him giving the ultimate sacrifice.

Tillman’s numbers have been retired, since then.  His No. 40 and No.42 jerseys retired by ASU and the Cardinals, respectively. The Cardinals have also featured him in their Ring of Honor.  And in the wake of his death, life has sprung forth.  Events in his honor, and the Pat Tillman Foundation, have emerged; the latter investing in military veterans and their spouses through academic scholarships.


Among my favorite quotes by Tillman, aside from the one about passion at the start of this piece:

“My great-grandfather was at Pearl Harbor, and a lot of my family has gone and fought in wars, and I really haven’t done a damn thing as far as laying myself on the line like that. And so I have a great deal of respect for those that have, and what the flag stands for.” –Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman will be featured on “A Football Life,” which will air at 6 p.m. on Oct. 28.

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