But 9/11 disrupted those plans. Tillman continued to play ball, his stock as a defensive hitman rising and teams began making multi-million dollar bids for his services. But Tillman was being pulled in another direction as he felt he should do his part and join the army.
Tillman and Marie discussed his reasoning for months before he made up his mind.
"It wasn't like 9/11 happened and Pat immediately said, 'I'm joining the Army,'" Marie told Krakauer. "He did a lot of research first. He weighed all the pros and cons. What was it going to be like for him? What was it going to be like for me? He considered things from every possible angle."
One angle was children. When Tillman finally made up his mind to enlist, Marie decided to postpone having children because she didn't want to be raising a child alone while her husband was deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan.
He made up his mind on April 8, 2002 and wrote about it that night. Towards the end of his musings, Tillman wrote, "I'm not sure where this new direction will take my life though I am positive it will include its share of sacrifice and difficulty, most of which falling squarely on Marie's shoulder."
The separation of basic training and later war was wrenching for both of them. Tillman agonized over missing Marie in his journal.
"As always Marie is always on my mind," he wrote while at Fort Benning, Ga. "I have been unable to speak with her... since we've been here and I miss the sound of her voice... Often it bothers me that I am not by her side... I love her to death and know that eventually this will be good for us. Hopefully, she will one day see it that way."
Since his death, Marie has moved to California and is now chairman of the board of the Pat Tillman Foundation. The foundation endowed a two semester curriculum at ASU called the "Leadership Through Action Program." It accepts 15 to 20 Tillman Scholars each year. And there are plans to expand it to other institutions.
Marie told Krakauer that she could not fight the military like her mother-in-law has over the details of her husband's death and the subsequent cover-up.
"I didn't feel like I could focus on the investigation and maintain my sanity. I would read through the documents, picture Pat being shot, and it haunted me. I couldn't detach this person that I loved from the horrific details in the documents," she said.
When asked if she was ever angry at Tillman for enlisting, Marie told Krakauer, "I was never mad at him for that. You love someone for who they are; I can't really be angry with him for enlisting because needing to do that was part of who he was."
She added later that her husband's death "left a hole in my life that's huge."
"The sadness will run its course," she says. "But it's never going to go away."