Pat Tillman's First Mission Was Jessica Lynch Rescue

"'Listen to me,'' Bauer said he told Tillman. "The Rams really want you and I don't see Arizona matching their offer. I'm going to fax the Rams' offer sheet to you. You have to sign it."

But Tillman refused, calling back a couple days later to tell his agent, "Look, Frank, the Cardinals drafted me in the seventh round. They believed in me. I love the coaches here. I can't bring myself to take the offer from the Rams. ... I've made my decision. I'm going to stay with the Cardinals."

"In twenty-seven years,'' Bauer says in the book, "I've never had a player turn down that big of a package in the National Football League. I've had players take twenty grand less per year to stay at clubs they really want to play for, but turning down nine-and-a-half million? That's unheard of. You just don't see loyalty like that in sports today."

After 9/11, Tillman, whose family has a long history of military service, began soul-searching.

"We have a great life,'' he wrote of he and his wife Marie, "with nothing to look forward to but more of the same. Sports embodied many of the qualities that I deem meaningful: courage, toughness, strength, etc, while at the same time, the attention I receive reinforces its seeming importance. ...

"However, in the last few years, and especially after recent events, I'm no longer satisfied with the path I've been following -- it's no longer important."

By the spring of 2002, he'd decided to join the Army with his brother Kevin.

That sense of loyalty and commitment surfaced again in December 2003. After Tillman had served a tour in Iraq, the general manager of the Seattle Seahawks contacted Tillman's football agent and offered the young soldier another NFL contract. The Seahawks had done some research and determined that Tillman could be released from the remainder of his Army contract because he had served in a war zone.

Again, Tillman refused.

"I enlisted for three years,'' he told Bauer, according to the book. "I owe them three years. I'm not going back on my word. I'm going to stay in the Army.''

Tillman's sacrifice has been disheartening for many reasons, one of them militarily.

Late last year, Krakauer concluded, "In April 2004, Pat Tillman was deployed to Afghanistan as part of a campaign to ... bring Khost Province under control of the elected government of President Hamid Karzai. Villagers throughout the area defiantly fly the white flag of the Taliban from their homes. Less than a mile from the eastern end of Tillman Pass (the name U.S. soldiers spontaneously bestowed upon the canyon where Pat was killed), a loudspeaker at a bustling madrassa blares anti-American messages into the surrounding community while young boys are instructed in the principles of jihad within the school's walls..."

-- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693. -- This embed didnt make it to copy for story id = 8536693.
Page
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...