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Old 04-23-2004, 01:12 PM   #1
Higher_Desire
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Pat Tillman (Ex-NFL Player) Killed in Afghanistan

NBC News and news services
Updated: 12:22 p.m. ET April 23, 2004


WASHINGTON - Pat Tillman, who gave up a lucrative NFL contract with the Arizona Cardinals to join the Army Rangers, was killed in action in Afghanistan, military officials said Friday.

In the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, Tillman decided to turn down a three-year, $3.6 million contract with the Cardinals to enlist in the Army.

Tillman was first deployed to Iraq in March 2003 with the 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment, based in Fort Lewis, Wash.

In Afghanistan, Tillman's battalion was involved in "Operation Mountain Storm," part of the U.S. campaign against Taliban and al-Qaida groups along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, military officials told NBC.

He was killed during action in the past 24 hours, they said.

Separately, officials who spoke with The Associated Press said a formal announcement was expected later in the day. Spokesmen at the Pentagon and U.S. Army declined comment.

Tillman joined the Army with his younger brother Kevin in May 2002, but Pat Tillman denied requests for media coverage of his enlistment, basic training and ultimate deployments.

Kevin was a former minor league baseball prospect in the Cleveland Indians’ organization.

According to Army officials at the time, Pat Tillman wanted no special treatment, wanted no special attention, but wanted to be considered just one of the soldiers doing his duty for his country.

Tillman played four seasons with the National Football League’s Arizona Cardinals before enlisting in the Army in May 2002.

He made the decision after returning from his honeymoon with his wife, Marie.

Tillman’s agent, Frank Bauer, has called him a deep and clear thinker who has never valued material things.

In 2001, Tillman turned down a $9 million, five-year offer sheet from the Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals, and by joining the Army, he passed on millions more from the team.

Tillman turned aside interview requests after joining the Army. In December, during a trip home, he made a surprise visit to his Cardinal teammates.

“For all the respect and love that all of us have for Pat Tillman and his brother and Marie, for what they did and the sacrifices they made ... believe me, if you have a chance to sit down and talk with them, that respect and that love and admiration increase tenfold,” Coach Dave McGinnis said at the time. “It was a really, really enriching evening.”

The 5-foot-11, 200-pound Tillman was distinguished by his intelligence and appetite for rugged play. As an undersized linebacker at Arizona State, he was the Pac-10’s defensive player of the year in 1997.

He set a franchise record with 224 tackles in 2000 and warmed up for last year’s training camp by competing in a 70.2-mile triathlon in June.

Tillman carried a 3.84 grade point average through college and graduated with high honors in 3 1/2 academic years with a degree in marketing.

"You don’t find guys that have that combination of being as bright and as tough as him," Phil Snow, who coached Tillman as Arizona State’s defensive coordinator, said in 2002. "This guy could go live in a foxhole for a year by himself with no food."

Tillman and his brother Kevin last year won the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the 11th annual ESPY Awards.

NBC's Jim Miklaszewski contributed to this report.
-----------------------------

H-D
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Old 04-23-2004, 02:19 PM   #2
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My prayers go out to his family. I read about this, this morning also....
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Old 04-23-2004, 03:06 PM   #3
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Yes, I saw it on the front page of AOL today, very very sad. Such a selfless person, so tragic.
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Old 04-23-2004, 03:17 PM   #4
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I saw that on sportsline.com this morning... very sad... Tillman's definitely a hero in my eyes... giving up a million dollar contract in the most popular sport in America (or at least up there w/ baseball) to serve our country for less than $20,000 a year, a very selfless act... very sad news, indeed.....
the one thing i didn't like about the headline i saw (again, on sportsline.com): it was listed as breaking news, highlighted and everything... below it, a headline about the NBA playoffs was "Hostile Takeover"... i dunno, maybe i'm just overreacting, but that seemed a bit inappropriate, a la using war terminolgy in sports ("deep bomb", "murdered them", etc... and Kellen Winslow, Jr. comparing himself to a soldier)
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Old 04-23-2004, 03:44 PM   #5
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That sucks
I wasn't familiar with him, but that is really sad!
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Old 04-23-2004, 07:20 PM   #6
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Same here, Julie, I didn't know of him, but that's so sad, R.I.P. Pat
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Old 04-23-2004, 10:09 PM   #7
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Old 04-24-2004, 01:07 AM   #8
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dag, i heard about that on ESPN. i remember about a year ago they had a thing on there about him and his brother. thats too bad, man, but at least he died serving his country. i tip my hat to him for that.
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:02 PM   #9
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I remember reading an article on him in People not too long ago. There are just too many people getting killed overseas. Will it ever end????? Their bravery is oustanding. I give all of our soliders so much credit.
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Old 04-24-2004, 02:59 PM   #10
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Quote: (Originally Posted by Shadow) I remember reading an article on him in People not too long ago. There are just too many people getting killed overseas. Will it ever end????? Their bravery is oustanding. I give all of our soliders so much credit.
Weird thing is, the war is over. Bush said it was over last year some time. He's said a lot of stupid things in the past, but that was one of the dumbest.


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Today I'm gonna try a little harder
Gonna make every minute last longer
Gonna learn to forgive and forget
'Cause we don't have long
Gonna make the most of it

Today I'm gonna love my enemies
Reach out to somebody who needs me
Make a change, make the world a better place
'Cause tomorrow could be one day too late


--lyrics from "One Day Too Late" by Skillet
from their new album "Awake"
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