Cleat Geeks

11 things you may not know about Pat Tilman 11 years later

1)Tillman was the first professional football player to be killed in combat since Bob Kalsu, who died in the Vietnam War in 1970.

2) A highway bypass around the Hoover Dam has a bridge bearing Tillman’s name. Completed in October 2010, the Mike O’Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge spans the Colorado River between Nevada and Arizona.

3) He started his college career as a linebacker for Arizona State University in 1994, when he secured the last remaining scholarship for the team.

4)  Tillman was voted the 1997 Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. Academically, Tillman majored in marketing and graduated in three and a half years with a 3.85 GPA. He also earned many academic awards including: the Clyde B. Smith Academic Award in 1996 and 1997; the Sporting News Honda Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1997; and the 1998 Sun Angel Student Athlete of Year.tillmanPrint

5) Sports Illustrated football writer Paul Zimmerman (“Dr. Z”) named Tillman to his 2000 NFL All-Pro team after Tillman finished with 155 tackles (120 solo), 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 9 pass deflections and 1 interception for 30 yards.

6) At one point in his NFL career, Tillman turned down a five-year, $9 million contract offer from the St. Louis Rams out of loyalty to the Cardinals.

7) Tillman and his brother Kevin enlisted on May 31, 2002. Kevin gave up the chance of a career in professional baseball as he had already signed to play for the Cleveland Indians. In September 2002, they completed basic training together. The two brothers completed the Ranger Indoctrination Program in late 2002 and were assigned to the 2nd Ranger Battalion in Fort Lewis, Washington.

8) Members of Tillman’s unit burned his body armor and uniform in an apparent attempt to hide the fact that he was killed by friendly fire.

9) His notebook, in which – according to author Jon Krakauer – Tillman had recorded some of his thoughts on Afghanistan, was never returned to his family, and its whereabouts are not publicly known.

10) When the Sun Devil football players put on their helmets, they see a PT42 logo above their face-mask on the inside. When the Sun Devils take the field, the players run out of “Tillman Tunnel” and follow a picture of Tillman out onto the grass.

11)  Each day, Todd Graham Arizona State Head Football Coach, sports a black wristband with a PT42 engraving on it to serve as a reminder of the way he wants to conduct his program.

It was very hard narrowing down only 11 facts of his great life. Pat was a fascinating individual. I would encourage to read more about him and his life. If you would like to make a donation to the foundation baring his name and read about the annual event, Pat’s Run that is going on in several cities including Philidelphia, Chicago, and Sun Devil Stadium please visit Pat Tillman Foundation.

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