Pat Tillman, a safety for Arizona State University, was selected with the 226th pick in the 1998 draft by the Arizona Cardinals. Normally a player drafted 226th overall is just trying to compete for a roster spot, much less a multi-million dollar contract.
Tillman defied the odds and became a star in the NFL, accumulating 344 tackles over the first four years of his career. Things were looking ever-so bright for the local hero, but then tragedy struck.
September 11, 2001, was a date that changed the world as we knew it forever. This also happened to be Tillman’s contract year, and while most players would have their thoughts set on cashing in on a big contract, he had his mind elsewhere.
Tillman was offered a 3.6 million dollar contract by the Cardinals, a well-deserved amount for the time and dedication he had put in on the football field.
But in a time of crisis like 9/11, the U.S. military needed help and support more than ever. Tillman decided his loyalty to his country was more important than his love for the game of football, and turned down the 3.6 million dollar deal in favor of a stint with the military.
On April 22, 2004, it was reported that Tillman was killed in action by the Taliban, but later evidence surfaced that the cause of death was friendly fire, with speculation that the government covered up Tillman’s death.
I don’t know a lot of details so I will stop there, but a new movie titled The Tillman Story will hit theaters August 20. The documentary focuses on Tillman’s family trying to uncover what really happened to Pat Tillman, and looks to be very entertaining. Watch the trailer below.