Less than a year after giving up a lucrative NFL career to serve his country, former Arizona Cardinal safety Pat Tillman has become an Army Ranger and has been deployed, presumably to the Middle East.
Tillman and his brother, Kevin, a former minor league baseball player, are now part of the 75th Ranger Regiment, comprising three battalions and 2,300 men. The Tillmans had been stationed at Fort Lewis, Wash., but were deployed within the last two weeks. Even relatives do not know specifically where they are.
…Pat Tillman, 26, who walked away from a contract that would have paid him $3.6 million over three seasons, set a Cardinal record in 2000 with 224 tackles. He is believed to be the first NFL regular since World War II to voluntarily leave the game for military service. His new job pays between $1,022 and $1,433 a month.
— Sam Farmer, The L.A. Times “Tillman is Sent to the Middle East”
Pat Tillman was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004, by what was eventually revealed to be friendly fire. Many details of his death are still unknown and have been made impossible to know by the destruction of evidence by the U.S. military. There is a wide-range of explanations for his death—from mistaken friendly fire to intentional murder.