Tillman honored at NFL draft
NEW YORK (April 24, 2004) -- Pat Tillman was praised at the NFL draft as a hero by commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who wore a black ribbon with Tillman's name on it and a Cardinals helmet pin with the No. 40 attached.
Tillman, who left the Arizona Cardinals in May 2002 to join the Army Rangers, died April 22 in an ambush in Afghanistan. His jersey was hung below a video screen, along with a photo of the former Cardinals safety.
"Pat Tillman personified the best values of America and of the National Football League," Tagliabue said Saturday, flanked by five Marines. "Like other men and women protecting our freedom around the globe, he made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life for his country."
A moment of silence then was held in Tillman's honor, after which the crowd at Madison Square Garden chanted "U-S-A, U-S-A."
"It puts things in perspective," Iowa tackle Robert Gallery said of Tillman's death. "The guy gave up a career in the NFL, which shows what kind of man he is. He is a hero to all of us, especially the guys in football."
The Cardinals took Tillman in the seventh round of the 1998 draft, the 226th player chosen. He developed into a starting safety known as a hard hitter and special teams demon.
All NFL staff members wore ribbons and pins in honor of Tillman.
His death hit the NFL hard, from veteran players and coaches to the members of this year's draft class.
"It's real tragic," Virginia Tech cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "He decided to leave the NFL and go fight for his country, fight the good fight. He loved his country, and you know how big a role model he is. He said, `This is what I need to do.' He's a hero."
The Associated Press News Service
Copyright 2004, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved
I imagine there won't be as many whining primadonna's this year playing in the NFL. I'm sure there will still be some, but Specialist Tillman's death will certainly put things in perspective for many of us this year, fans and players alike.
Gregg Easterbrook offers a fitting eulogy....
Tillman is the epitome of a hero