Ten years ago today, Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan when his platoon was attacked in what weeks later was revealed by the United States military to be a friendly fire incident.
Tillman will forever be remembered and celebrated for giving up a guaranteed contract with the Cardinals and instead enlisting with the Army Rangers along with his brother just months after the September 11th attacks. The former ASU Sun Devil would have made $3.6 million over three years if he had continued to pursue his football career.
Now on the decade anniversary of his death, there's been plenty of discussion today amongst local writers, bloggers and radio personalities on whether Tillman should be in the Football Hall of Fame in Canton due to his heroics of quitting football to fight for his country in its hour of need.
In my view, it seems like a no brainer and I think the discussion is even a bit unnecessary. Of course, Tillman would be put be in for what he did off the field and not on it. When he was in the league, Tillman was a solid player in the Red Birds secondary, but he didn't have the longevity nor the numbers to get into Canton.
What Tillman did after football was truly remarkable and can't be talked about enough in my opinion. I could never imagine leaving that amount of money on the table to go pursue something in a field where your life is in constant danger on a daily basis.
Former Suns great Charles Barkley talks on a regular basis about how athletes shouldn't be looked up to as heroes or idols, but Tillman was certainly the exception to that rule and then some. Every young athlete coming up should strive to be just like #42.
If the Football Hall of Fame has a brain and a heart, it would immediately create a section to not only honor Tillman, but all of those former players who have served in the nation's armed forces. It's the least they could do for a group of men who put their country first and the game of football on the back burner.