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Remembering Tillman

Posted by Darren Urban on April 20, 2012 – 1:49 pm

My wife asked me last night, in the course of a conversation, if Pat Tillman and Larry Fitzgerald had ever been teammates. No, I told her. Tillman was killed the day before Fitz was drafted by the Cardinals.

Obviously draft time jars some Tillman memories. So too does the fact Pat’s Run — the annual 4.2-mile jaunt around and in Sun Devil Stadium, which sold out with an astounding 28,000 people this year — will be tomorrow. I’m taking part for the seventh straight year, part of a group of us from the Cards that includes coach Ken Whisenhunt.

I won’t go into my Tillman anecdotes yet again. If you want, you can read about them here, or read about how Pat joined the Army here, or watch his famous interview he gave the day after 9/11 here. Safe to say I was lucky enough to have crossed paths with him, and while he wasn’t perfect, he stood for a lot of honorable things. That’s why I’ll be running tomorrow, and that’s why, next Thursday night, I’ll be think back to that Friday morning in April, 2004, when I got the call at home that Tillman had lost his life.


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32 Responses to “Remembering Tillman”

  1. By Cards4ever on Apr 20, 2012 | Reply

    Is Tillman’s photo present at every Cardinals draft now?

  2. By Erik on Apr 20, 2012 | Reply

    I still remember when they talked about it on the news :/

  3. By UC,CaseyIsatRaGeDY on Apr 20, 2012 | Reply

    Despite this being a big week for you professionally, it has to be tough personally.
    I wish you well on the run and remember if it gets tough out there, “we’re all actors” and “you need to show the baby”.
    I have a feeling you’ll be running for more than Tillman’s ideals.

  4. By Gogogocards on Apr 20, 2012 | Reply

    Don’t ever think that we don’t want to hear it Darren, it’s important, it’s necessary, it’s wanted. Anyone who’s a true Card or Sun Devil, still feels it, still gets the lump, still chokes up and fights back emotions.

    Not an angel, but an honorable man and someone we don’t want to forget.

    I recorded Tom Brokaw that night, boomer on espn and the intro at the draft.
    Once a year now, at draft time, I watch all three – and remember.
    Thanks for sharing.

  5. By mal on Apr 20, 2012 | Reply

    When Pat was with the team, I attended every single afternoon practice during summer camp in Flagstaff. I would go over after work and sit under the trees on the hill overlooking the upper fields where you could get a great view of practice. At the end of those afternoon sessions each day, everybody cleared out really quickly — the players streaming towards the locker room, the reporters snagging guys for interviews, and all the fans scattering to get autographs or head home.

    I would just sit there. I was in no hurry — nowhere to be. It would always end up with just me by myself on the hill, and Pat Tillman and Jake Plummer on the field. They would leave their helmets off and go jog real slow around the outside perimeter of the upper-most field two or three times. I always wondered what they were doing — were they getting extra work, or was it just a wind-down jog?

    It was fun to watch — Pat with his long hair flopping as he jogged. It was just the two of them, and was obvious they were good buds. But what was funny about it, was that they never stopped talking. They were non-stop jabbering the whole time, looking over at each other, motioning with their hands in the air like they were solving the world’s problems.

    Now in hindsight, with the way Pat thought about stuff, maybe thats what they were doing — discussing the world’s problems — or maybe they were just shooting the sh– like buddies do. I’ll never know, but thats how I’ll always remember Pat Tillman. He was different. Did things his own way. Made up for his small NFL stature with huge heart. Marched to the beat of a different drummer.

  6. By CZarr on Apr 20, 2012 | Reply

    Darren,

    I didn’t even know there was a “Tillman run”. I’ll be signing up next year. Tillman’s story is awe inspiring. Characters like him only come around once in a great while. We were lucky to have him represent the Cardinals.

  7. By Dre on Apr 20, 2012 | Reply

    Rip Pat you will live forever in our harts

  8. By shannon robinson on Apr 21, 2012 | Reply

    Thanks to mal – great crack about our hero Pat. I experienced the loss of Tillman first as a roster deficit the year he didn’t return right after getting a legit contract from the Cards. I had no idea at the time what the loss was really to become manifest by his sacrifice. Thanks mal for the little insight you gave us. My recollection of Mr. Tillman was closing strikes on “defenseless” receivers – bone jarring hits that told everybody in that hot stadium that the hottest person on the field was closing fast. The Cards have always had a tradition of hard ass safeties who made you pay. Pat Tillman played like he lived – all in, all the time as hard and mean as he could hit. His gift to me in those losing years was the joy of seeing the ball, receiver and Pat Tillman come together at the same time. What a joy! I live near a military base and watch our reserves prepare for deployment – as they run by I yell out, “Pat Tillman!” and always get back a glorius cheer in return.

  9. By Ricky on Apr 21, 2012 | Reply

    hey i was on the nfl homepage and i saw that the eagles were willing to give up Asante Samuel for a 5th round or a 6th round you think the cardinals are interested?

  10. By Darren Urban on Apr 21, 2012 | Reply

    Ricky —

    Samuel —

    Don’t see it. Would cost $10M in salary this season. Can’t absorb that on the cap, and they like their young corners.

  11. By cardsalltheway on Apr 21, 2012 | Reply

    What would Pat Tillman say about being on “Hard Knocks”? Come on Ken W., show up your home state(Georgia/Atlanta Falcons) and put yourself and the Cardinals out there. Do you want to be on TV more often in the future or don’t you care about marketing your Arizona Cardinals? What are you afraid of…?
    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8287eea1/article/atlanta-falcons-pass-on-hbos-hard-knocks-to-focus-on-game?module=HP11_headline_stack

  12. By vegas4u2012. on Apr 22, 2012 | Reply

    i remember going to watch a game at sundevil stadium in the late 90’s against the cowboys that i had recorded on vhs.cards ended up wining that game 13to10?against the likes of emmit smith/irvin etc.i well knew who tillman was for i was along time asu.fan.i also remember when tillman turned down a large contract to join the military & recall someone telling me that he was an idiot for doing so.i told him that he was a very special/unique person.when i have replayed that tape now the thing that stands out to me the most is tillmans memory.glad to see that he’s not forgotten.GO BIG RED!SEE YOU ON GAME DAY.

  13. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 22, 2012 | Reply

    @cardsalltheway,

    “What would Pat Tillman say about being on “Hard Knocks”?”

    Probably something along the lines of, “…get these Fuc&#@! cameras out of here, we’ve got work to do.”

  14. By Scott H on Apr 22, 2012 | Reply

    SOOOO proud to say he was a Cardinal. Sadly, his life and career were much too short. Always happy to see people wearing the #40 jersey. And even happier to see others show respect when they see it.

  15. By azfancolo on Apr 22, 2012 | Reply

    Rest In Peace Mr. Pat Tillman

  16. By D on Apr 22, 2012 | Reply

    Great turnout for the Tillman race!
    As far as the #2 receiver conversation, I say the Card’s really should not be desperate to draft Floyd at #13 on Thurs.
    Here are a few reasons:

    1) He’ll probably be taken at #10 in Buffalo
    2) He has more than one off the field issues, and we all know after D. Boston, this team doesn’t need another diva at WR. (excluding Q because only acted like a diva for a short period of time and he still performed on the field)
    3) Rob Housler–Has to stay healthy and be included more into the offense.
    4) AZ has a couple solid #3 and #4 WR’s on the roster, they should draft one in rounds 4 or 5 if they can find one with crazy speed and decent hands. (maybe TY Hilton)

  17. By cardsalltheway on Apr 23, 2012 | Reply

    Mike Ellingboe,
    It sounds like the NFL is asking for volunteers, something P. Tillman was familiar with. So, are you saying he wouldn’t have cared about promoting the Cardinals and that there isn’t anyway Ken W. and the Cardinals could end up doing ‘Hard Knocks’? Unfortunately(maybe not for you?), it seems the Cardinals aren’t on the list…
    Five teams we’d like to see on HBO’s ‘Hard Knocks’
    http://www.nfl.com/news/story/09000d5d8287f0d2/article/five-teams-wed-like-to-see-on-hbos-hard-knocks?module=HP11_content_stream

    Ken W. needs to think about life after the AZ Cardinals and maybe he would learn to say things other than…”Who knows, Never know, You know, I know, and I don’t know” during interviews. But yes, that might be too difficult and cause too much distraction. We sure wouldn’t want anyone on the Cardinals to ever learn how to look and sound good on TV because they’re already as good as they come and fans like you wouldn’t be interested. Gosh, maybe we’d have some fans refusing to watch just on principle.

  18. By johnnybluenose on Apr 23, 2012 | Reply

    darren, when are you releasing your mock draft? you are going to, right?

  19. By drummer-1 on Apr 23, 2012 | Reply

    @ cardsalltheway..

    There have been multiple teams turn down Hard-knocks, that should tell you something, it’s a distraction, how does it help any team? It’s just benefits HBO… On a much serious note… Why do you come on the cardinals web-site…

  20. By Darren Urban on Apr 23, 2012 | Reply

    Johnnybluenose —

    RE: Mock

    Yes, I plan to mock. Probably Wednesday afternoon.

  21. By Chuck 1 on Apr 23, 2012 | Reply

    To drummer-1,

    I could (and do) ask you the same question that you asked cardsalltheway.
    “Why do you come on the cardinals web-site…?”

    Although you (and some others) attempt to squelch any comments by anyone who doesn’t agree with you or the Cards’ personnel decisions or actions, IT AIN’T GONNA TO HAPPEN!!!

  22. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 23, 2012 | Reply

    @cardsalltheway,

    Tillman wouldn’t even do interviews after he decided to enlist in the Army, do you think he’d “volunteer” for something as commercialized as “Hard Knocks” just to get TV air time? Maybe there’s a reason the league is looking for somebody to be on that show, everyone recognizes it’s an unnecessary distraction.

    When I listen to Whisenhunt’s interviews I hear a lot more than what you do. Personally, I prefer a coach who doesn’t blab his draft strategy to the whole world, and then is in the position to overpay for a player he wants to get.

  23. By BleedCardsRED on Apr 23, 2012 | Reply

    Darren-

    Thank for taking part of Pat’s Run! I can’t be there for it this year as I have not beeen able to in the past as well but I am with all of you.

    I shipped out with Pat and his brother in July of 2002. We all were at MEPS together in downtown Phoenix waiting for our call. I had the chance to talk a bit with both of them. I was an 18 year old kid, fresh out of high school and remembering that I had never seen anyone with the size of calves as Pat. He was a big dude. We went to different units as I was stationed in Fort Hood but we were in Iraq at the same time. I wish he could have made it back as I did. Here’s to remembering Pat!

  24. By drummer-1 on Apr 23, 2012 | Reply

    @Chuck1 aka cardsalltheway aka thruths4all

    I come here because i like the team, you and your alter ego come here just to complain about everything this team does..If you have the rights to complain about the team, i have the right to complain about fans..If you noticed i all say things to people who have only negative things to say, like Scott h, he have good and bad things to say about the team, which mean he has an open mind, but you have nothing but a negative attitude…If it was something i didn’t like i wouldn’t be around it..

    No offense Scott, i just used you as an example of a loyal fan..

    I hope that answered you question..

  25. By cardsalltheway on Apr 24, 2012 | Reply

    Mike Ellingboe,
    “Tillman wouldn’t even do interviews after he decided to enlist in the Army.”
    I’m not surprised, what’s that got to do with anything? He did interviews when he played in the NFL correct? Are you saying if he had returned to the NFL he would’ve refused interviews?

    dummer-1,
    Who are you also known as? It’s only your opinion that ‘Hard Knocks’ is a negative thing. For me, I see it as a positive thing. I would learn more about the team I cheer for and regrettably don’t know much about because of statements like…”Who knows, Never know, You know, I know, and I don’t know.”

  26. By cardsalltheway on Apr 24, 2012 | Reply

    As a matter of fact, my initial count was wrong, I had originally only counted 4 “You Know’s” but there were MANY more as you can see and hear below. I would disagree with Ken W., I don’t know as much as he thinks. Almost every time he said “You know,” I was confused because I didn’t know. Actually, it’s a bit irritating to hear “You know” so often, especially when I don’t know nor when I don’t get paid to know like he does. If Ken W. really thinks that fans know so much(almost 3 times as much as him) why does anyone interview him? Oh, and I initially counted 5 “I don’t know’s” but there are actually 6. Listen for yourself:(

    Ken W.’s take on the schedule…
    http://www.azcardinals.com/videos-photos/audio/Whisenhunt-Talks-Schedule-with-Doug–Wolf/30ddcef9-bcba-4904-babe-28fd2ac3d7e2
    Go ahead, count for yourself…
    “Who knows” = 1
    “I don’t know” = 6
    “Never know” = 2
    “I know” = 2
    “You know” = 15

  27. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 24, 2012 | Reply

    @cardsalltheway,

    No genius, I’m saying he would have scoffed at the idea of a show like “Hard Knocks.”

  28. By Darren Urban on Apr 24, 2012 | Reply

    Everyone —

    RE: Tillman/Hard Knocks

    Let me just say it is laughable to suggest Tillman would have embraced the idea of Hard Knocks.

  29. By Mike Ellingboe on Apr 24, 2012 | Reply

    @cardsalltheway,

    Having listened to Whisenhunt’s interview, I thought it was pretty easy to get by the word “know” to figure out his answers. Happy to have a lot of home games early, not concerned with the “who” of the schedule as much as the “where,” can’t judge strength of schedule accurately due to changing records (as an example, the 49’ers), looking forward to building on the 7-2 finish, etc., etc., etc.

    “I was confused because I didn’t know”

    You’ve made us all painfully aware of that reality.

  30. By cardsalltheway on Apr 25, 2012 | Reply

    “Let me just say it is laughable to suggest Tillman would have embraced the idea of Hard Knocks.”

    People change, especially after a tour of duty. If he had made it back and played again then “who knows” how he’d have felt about it? Oh man, I sound like Ken W. now.

  31. By William Barry on Jun 14, 2012 | Reply

    Pat Tillman was a great player. Rest in peace.

  32. By Andy on Nov 6, 2012 | Reply

    Always on my mind, always in my heart. PAT TILLMAN, Happy B’Day!!!

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