Remembering Pat Tillman, 10 Years Later


Dec 29, 2013; Phoenix, AZ, USA; Arizona Cardinals former player Pat Tillman has his name displayed on the Ring of Honor at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Raider Nation is a wonderful thing.  We are a nation of Oakland Raiders fans who believe in our team.  Yet we are also football fans.  We honor tradition and the many accomplishments that NFL players do for our great nation, society, sports world, and country.  We recognize the things that eclipse the great Oakland Raiders Franchise.  As such, Just Blog Baby and Raider Nation honors Pat Tillman on the 10th Anniversary of his death.

On September 11, 2001, I sat in my living room watching a television show.  Then, like the rest of America, I saw the horror that befell the Trade Center Towers.  America had fallen under attack by terrorists.  It was my day off of work, but I picked up the telephone and called my Sergeant.  I told him that I wanted to come into work and do something.  He told me to stay home and wait till they figured out what contributions the California Highway Patrol was going to make to New York.  I was saddened and angry and I wanted revenge/retribution for the people whose lives were lost and forever changed by the events that took place on that day.  I imagine that Pat Tillman felt similar feelings on that day as well.

Ten years ago today, Pat Tillman lost his life while fighting for the country he loved and cherished.  America is the “Land of the free and home of the brave,” and Tillman encompassed both throughout his short life.  Most every football fan and red-blooded American is well aware of who Pat Tillman was, but Just Blog Baby would like to offer a look into his contributions to the sport of American Football and to his country, America.

Tillman grew up in Fremont, California, near San Jose.  A six position stand out player in high school football, Tillman was recruited to Arizona State University in 1994.  There, he excelled as a linebacker, earning the PAC-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 1997.  He also shined as a student, graduating with a marketing degree in 3.5 years while maintaining a 3.85 grade point average.  In 1998, he was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals as the 226th pick.

Tillman was moved to the safety position, and in 2000, he had a dominant year (155 tackles (120 solo), 1.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 9 pass deflections, and 1 interception for 30 yards).  Then in 2001, the events of 9-11 unfolded.  Tillman finished his 4th season with the Cardinals in the wake of 9-11, and he turned down a 3-year $3.6 million dollar contract to join the United States Army in May of 2002.

Tillman didn’t just join the Army, he went into Special Forces.  As a former Sailor, I am well aware of what that means, as are all the men and women who have supported our country through their service in the United States Armed Services.  He was going to the front lines.  Just two short years later, Pat Tillman died in Afghanistan fighting for his country.  Although there is controversy surrounding his death, the man died defending the land he loved, and that’s all that needs to be said about that.

Respect is a term that can sometimes be used too loosely in our society these days, but I respect Tillman.  He is one of the bravest men I have every had the pleasure to learn about.  I honor his service to our great country, as well as the many men and women who have fought and died defending the USA throughout its history.

The term “Proud to be an American,” did not come without a price, and that price can be a heavy toll on the families and friends who have lost as a result of this countries endeavors.  Still, we would not have the freedoms we so greatly covet without the men and women who have defended and still defend our country to this day.

Pat Tillman is an example of a true American who wanted to do his part to keep America safe and free.  Join Just Blog Baby in honoring his memory today and for the years that follow.  Never forget…