in General Discussion edited January 2014
Sounds like the kind of guy who'd prefer to not be thought of that way. He?s got my respect.

July 14, 2002

<a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2002/07/14/sports/football/14TILL.html"; target="_blank">Tillman's Bold Career Move</a>


[quote]The story told about Pat Tillman that seems to describe him best, and provides a glimpse into why he would reject a million-dollar salary and lucrative lifestyle as a National Football League player in favor of enlisting in the Army to try to become an elite Ranger, begins 200 feet high, atop a strapping light tower.

Not too long ago, as a college player at Arizona State, Tillman would occasionally sneak into Sun Devil Stadium in the evening when no one was watching and scurry up an intimidating light post several stories high - with no safety harness - and meditate. Tillman risked his life to clear his thoughts.

Tillman, 25, has always been different. He is a strange, at times contradictory, blend of machismo and humility, of ego and selflessness; by joining the Army, Tillman has a lot of people - both in and out of the sports world - calling him a hero while simultaneously questioning his sanity.

Last Monday, Tillman began basic training at Fort Benning, Ga. His hope is to make the Rangers, the special-forces light infantry unit and one of the more storied military organizations in the world.

Tillman is believed to be the first N.F.L. player since World War II to leave the game voluntarily for military service, and his choice of attempting to be a Ranger might not be coincidental. Tillman has declined to comment on his unusual career move for fear that his decision will be interpreted as a publicity stunt. But close friends of Tillman's maintain that, like millions of others, he was deeply affected by the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11; the Rangers have played a prominent role in the military campaign in Afghanistan.

"I don't think he will ever share with anyone why exactly he did it," said Mark Brand, Arizona State's associate athletic director and a friend of Tillman's. "I've known him for seven years and I don't know. I think Sept. 11 really affected him. But again he won't talk about specifically why."

It is believed that someone close to Tillman died in the attacks, but no one knows for sure because neither Tillman, nor his brother, Kevin, a former minor league baseball player in the Cleveland organization who joined the Army with Tillman, is talking. Even family members have been silent, as instructed by both men.

"He said there were personal reasons" for joining, Cardinals Coach Dave McGinnis said, adding: "He didn't want to divulge them to me, and I didn't press him on it. I respect his decision. I think it's honorable."

The differences between Tillman's old career and new one are striking. With the Cardinals he earned about $1.2 million a season. The Army will pay Tillman $18,000 a year.

Life in the N.F.L. is the most physically challenging of all the professional sports, with concussions and broken bones as much a part of the game as touchdowns. Yet the physicality professional football demands pales in comparison to what the Rangers - who have been involved in every major American conflict - ask their recruits to do. The training is so formidable that fewer than 40 percent of candidates complete it...<hr></blockquote>


  • Reply 1 of 2
    groveratgroverat Posts: 10,872member
    No, not a hero.

    I think that word has been thrown around way too much lately.
  • Reply 2 of 2
    hmurchisonhmurchison Posts: 12,276member
    Being an Avid UW Husky fan I've had the opportunity to watch Tillman play ball and being a Ranger would definitely suit this guy. Playing linbacker at 215lb means you have a little insanity already.
Sign In or Register to comment.