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April 25, 2004

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enoch choi

may he be blessed... he's from around here, in San Jose. love your wistfulness in this post...

MD

Enoch, I did not know he was from San Jose. May he and his family be blessed, indeed.

Ingrid

Obituary, courtesy The Blog of Death, posted April 23, 2004:

Pat Tillman

Pat Tillman was entering his fourth NFL season when terrorists hijacked several planes and crashed them into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field on Sept. 11, 2001. Instead of signing a three-year, $3.6 million contract as a safety with the Arizona Cardinals, Tillman turned in one uniform for another.

He enlisted in the Army.

As he trained to become an Army Ranger, Tillman made no statements to the press. Privately, he told colleagues he felt the need to"pay something back" for the life he had been afforded. His brother Kevin, a former minor league baseball prospect in the Cleveland Indians organization, also signed up.

Assigned to the 75th Ranger Regiment, an elite light infantry force, Tillman was reportedly stationed with the 173rd Airborne Brigade in Iraq in March 2003. He was later transferred to Afghanistan, where his battalion participated in "Operation Mountain Storm," the U.S. campaign to hunt down Osama bin Laden and members of his Al Qaeda terrorist group along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Tillman was killed in action on April 22 at the age of 27.

In 1994, he arrived at Arizona State University on the school's last remaining football scholarship. Four seasons later, Tillman was named Pac-10 Conference Defensive Player of the Year. He also earned a 3.84 grade point average and graduated with a degree in marketing in 3.5 years.

Tillman was the Cardinals' 226th draft pick in 1998. He became Arizona's starting strong safety, and set the team record with 224 tackles in 2000. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound athlete declined a five-year, $9 million contract offer from the St. Louis Rams in 2001 because he felt the Cardinals deserved his loyalty for taking a chance on him when he was still a rookie.

Last July, Pat and Kevin Tillman were honored with the Arthur Ashe Courage Award during the annual ESPY Awards telecast. The award, which is presented to individuals whose contributions transcend sports, was accepted by their younger brother Richard Tillman.

• Complete Coverage From the Arizona Republic

See Tributes

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