Former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman has died in action while serving
with the US Army Rangers in Afghanistan.
Tillman in action for the Cardinals in 1998
Following the terrorist attacks of 11 September, 2001, Tillman gave up a
three-year contract worth $3.6m to serve his country.
"In sports, we tend to use the words 'courage' and 'bravery' and 'heroes,'
then someone like Pat Tillman comes along and reminds us what those words really
mean," said Cardinals vice president Michael Bidwill.
Tillman was reportedly on a mission in Afghanistan, where the Rangers were
responsible for mopping up the remnants of Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces.
His unit worked in rugged circumstances, often fending off ambushes and avoiding
"Pat Tillman personified all the best values of his country and the NFL,"
commissioner Paul Tagliabue said in a statement.
"He was an achiever and leader on many levels who always put his team, his
community, and his country ahead of his personal interests."
Tillman - along with his brother, Kevin, a minor league pitcher - gave up
millions of dollars to join the Army for $18,000 a year.
Last year, the Tillman siblings were given ESPN's Arthur Ashe Courage Award,
but they sent their younger brother to accept it, choosing to remain outside the