It takes a special and dedicated type of person to join the Army. You have to know there is a real chance you will never come home and you have to basically uproot your life and give the ultimate sacrifice to your country. But it takes a whole other kind of person to leave a million dollar job playing NFL to serve your country. And that type of person is Pat Tillman, here I will talk about both his football career and his service in the military.
From the time he was in middle school, Pat Tillman excelled at the sport of football and led his high school to a division 1 championship. After graduating, he decided to play football for Arizona State (and actually secured their final scholarship available for the season). While there, he was a solid linebacker, despite being undersized for the position. In his Junior year, he led the Sun Devils to an undefeated season and won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of the year. While in college, he maintained a near 4.0 GPA and graduated ahead of schedule with a degree in marketing.
This success in college led him to be drafted in the 7th round of the 1998 NFL draft by the Arizona Cardinals. His team moved him over to safety, where he started more than half of the games for the Cardinals as a rookie. While his career wasn’t long, he played well enough to get a near 8 figure offer from the St. Louis Rams, which he turned down due to his loyalty to the Cardinals. That’s just the kind of person Tillman was.
And not only was he loyal to his NFL team, he was also loyal to his country. So during the aftermath of the September 11th attacks and ensuing war in the middle east, Tillman and his brother Kevin decided to enlist in the Army. This meant Tillman would be taking a leave from the NFL, and was sacrificing millions and millions of potential dollars to serve his country.
After basic training, Tillman served several tours in combat before one fateful mistake would cost him his life. In 2004, it was originally reported Tillman was killed by the enemies, but then rumour began circulating that they were killed via friendly fire, in a particularly intense firefight, in which he and others were mistaken for enemy troops.
This was huge news and made headlines across the world and the world of the NFL was hit particularly hard as one of their own was taken. After his death, his number was retired by both his NFL team and his college team and he was posthumously given numerous awards for honor and bravery such as the Purple Heart, the Silver Star and was even promoted to corporal. The pure fact that Tillman gave everything for his country and left millions of dollars on the table just proves the big heart this man had. He is a true inspiration and was selfless throughout his life.