Friday, October 17, 2008

Clearing the archives -- Pat Tillman (part one)

After Pat Tillman's tragic death, I started linking to some of the better articles that had been published before he died. Of course, many great essays have been written since, but it's important to go back and read what was written while he was still with us.

A cut above was published in SI while Pat was still at ASU.
This season Tillman has become simply the best player in the country who doesn't have his own (fill in the blank: Heisman, Outland, Lombardi, Butkus) campaign, living proof that there is room at the highest level of the game for a guy without much size or blazing speed but with a brain and cojones. "He epitomizes what college football is all about," says Southern Cal offensive coordinator Hue Jackson, who was an assistant at Arizona State during Tillman's first two seasons.

Privileged to Serve, by Peggy Noonan of the Wall Street Journal, was written after Pat had left the NFL to join the Army.
Right now he has 13 weeks of basic training ahead of him, then three weeks of Airborne School, and then, if he makes it, Ranger School, where only about a third of the candidates are accepted. "It's a long row," said the Fort Benning spokesman, who seemed to suggest it would be all right to call again around Christmas. Until then he'll be working hard trying to become what he wants to become.

On March 20, 2003, published an article "Tillman follows beat of a different drum" by Tom Barnidge, but this has since been removed from the site (probably just lost in the shuffle, not deliberately deleted). If anyone can find a cached version, please send me the details.

The NFL's Lonely Hero, by Paul Beston, was published in the American Spectator in December 2003. All too prophetically, Beston wrote:
Tillman walked away from a three-year, $3.6 million dollar contract with the Cardinals for an $18,000 salary and plentiful opportunities to get his head shot off. That hasn't happened yet, and God willing it won't. But the pay cut kicked in right away.

Pat was killed on April 22, 2004.

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