Running to remember Tillman

Posted by Darren Urban on April 16, 2010 – 2:38 pm

Tomorrow morning is Pat’s Run, the annual 4.2-mile race to remember former Cardinal and Arizona State Sun Devil Pat Tillman. It’s the sixth annual, and I will be taking part in my fifth straight.

I’ve recounted a few times my dealings with Pat. Some of the greatest, most blunt comments I have ever gotten were from Tillman. There was the time in Jacksonville at the end of the 2000 season — a terrible outing in which the Cards were steamrolled with little resistance — when Tillman had tired of the complaining about a midseason coaching change and said the “we need to show the baby and stop bitching about the pain.” There was the time in Washington the following season when Tillman insisted on speaking with reporters after playing in a freezing rain (his lips were blue) after a crushing finale loss that cost the Cards a .500 season.

And there was the time I got to sit next to him here at the team facility on Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001, watching the Twin Towers collapse and its aftermath, when I asked Pat about the just-starting-season, and he said compared to what was happening, athletes were “worthless. We’re actors.”

After that season, of course, he joined the Army. And the day before the draft of 2004, the world heard the news: Tillman was killed in action.

So much has been written and said about Pat since that time. He had an ideal, which is why he joined the military. He apparently became disillusioned with the goal of the war, but that didn’t stop him from going back to the Middle East even though he could have gotten out of it. And he obviously didn’t have to die.

But the spirit of what Tillman was is what we celebrate — willing to sacrifice personal glory and comfort for what he saw was a greater good. That’s what I think about when I’m pounding the four miles of Tempe asphalt every April.

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64 Responses to “Running to remember Tillman”

  1. By Adam on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Ill be there running my first, we miss you Pat and You gave up more than any of us can ever imagine…god bless!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. By Bobf on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply


  3. By paydaman90 on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Nice piece. The major sports leagues needs more men like that to look up to instead of the kobe’s and Rothlisbergers (dont care how to spell his name)

  4. By dylan on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    this guy is my hero anyone to turn down millions and job the military is a role model

  5. By 82dAirborne on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Pat was a huge inspiration for me to turn down trying to play college baseball and join the army. He embodies the army values of loyalty, duty, and selfless service. He is one of my greatest heroes of all time. I still rock both his Cardinals and Sun Devil jersey. I wish I could be taking part in Pat’s Run this year but I’m goin to Afghanistan at the end of this month. Great article! Go Devils!

  6. By darrenurban on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    82dAir —

    Please be safe overseas and thanks for what you do.

  7. By ken on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    I’m on my way to pick up my race packet rt now…..I’m ready to run w/ ya !!!

  8. By DRC#1FAN on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Not to be a jerk. And I love The CArds and Tillman. but that was truely a stupid ass decision he made. but, in the end, he left to make way for Adub and I wouldnt trade that. I’m sorry you had to go Pat, it was your own dumb choice. In the end. I think paydaman is right. we need more class acts like him and less ghetto fabs in the NFL

  9. By Joe-B on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    The NFL needs more people like him.

    Darren, did you see the thing on Fox during one of their pre game shows last season when they were in Iraq or Afghanistan and they showed one of the places some of the soldiers live in that was dedicated to Tillman?

  10. By darrenurban on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Joe-B —

    I do seem to recall that.

  11. By 82dAirborne on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Joe-B it’s Forward Operating Base Tillman. It’s in Afghanistan.

  12. By Dry Heat on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Picked up race packets for me, the wife and 3 kids yesterday. First Pat’s Run for all of us.

  13. By BDMag on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    DRC#1Fan- If you feel Tillman made a “stupid decision” do the world a favor, show some respect and keep it to yourself idiot.
    RIP Pat.

  14. By Scott H on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    Pat should ALWAYS and FOREVER be at the top of anyone’s list of the players that make you proud to be a Cardinals fan. He bacame a personal favorite of mine when he turned down the deal offered to him from the Rams at one point ( for more money, as we all know ) because he wanted to stay with the Cardinals. I think we all know that the Cardinals were NOT a real great place to be at that time, but the fact that he wanted to be here instead of with a team that was on its way to a few Super Bowls…that made him a special pro athlete. When he chose to leave the NFL a short time later to join the military, it made him a special human being. Honestly, I think the #40 should be retired throughout the NFL in his honor. He should be honored and recognized in every NFL stadium, not just the one where he played. That just isn’t big enough for the great American patriot that Tillman was. The NFL – NOT just the Cardinals – should be proud that this man wore one of their uniforms and that pride should be observed in every stadium where the game is played.

  15. By Scott H on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    DRC#!FAN –

    Dude, you should be banned from all future posts on this site for saying what you said. You really needed to think that one through a little more carefully before you pushed the button. Shame on you.

  16. By DRC#1FAN on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    hey BD keep it to yourself I will say whaat I want. I do respect the guy. I said that and I said we need more dudes in the NFL. why dont you ask his parents or the people who miss him if they think it was a good decision to go die instead of stay alive? hmm. I dont support or believe war is in any way a good thing. sorry I dont think like you.

  17. By DRC#1FAN on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    *more dudes in the NFL with the quality and character of Tillman.*

  18. By DRC#1FAN on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    here is what all of america should learn from Pat Tillma. Loayalty,hard work and ethics are awesome. and terrorists are bad. War is never the answer and it only takes people like Tillmn away from this world and leaves lil kids who watched their fathers die to grow up and hate even more. therefore, more terrorists. In Tillmans honor, how about we all just come home? eh?

  19. By DRC#1FAN on Apr 16, 2010 | Reply

    after a long discussion with my wife. I ahve decided to apologize and say I am sorry to anyone who has any family in the armed servicdes, and especially to anyone who may have actually known him. I didnt mean to discredit Pat or anyone who has died in the armed services. It was wrong for me to bring this up or insite anti war speach type comments on a post that is for Pat Tillman. so mostly. sorry Mr. Tillman, didnt mean to disrespect you on your own post. HAPPY RUNNIN ALL!

  20. By mark on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    DRC#1Fan you are a total selfish clown. Pat Tillman was a HERO that believed he was put on this earth for a more meaningful purpose thanto just to play a game. You also recently posted that you hated cops too, I guess we all know what a dirtbag you are.

  21. By iHateHaters on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply


    Seems to me you should find yourself a new team to root for…

    Like the Steelers.

    You and their QB have a heck of a lot in common.

    You’re both pitiful.

  22. By Eazy E on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply


    Chill out with the slight at kobe. Also, ben didn’t get charged either. Both weren’t guilty, so leave it alone.

  23. By William on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Scott H-

    I agree!

  24. By Card's Refugee on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Ummm please explain that one to me. I met Pat on 2 occasions and not once have I ever thought the man dumb! I also served for 9 yrs in the military and we live in this FREE world, that gives immature thinkers like you the freedom to post and say what you want. God Bless America for that, but man you are an absolute jerk! plz change your posting name so that I don’t know who you are the next time you post because you now have ZERO credibility and will be ignored by me!
    Thank you to all the men and women who continue to serve, to keep me and my family safe!

  25. By Nick on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply


    If you’re not willing to stand behind men and women like that, STAND IN FRONT OF THEM!

    BTW- Human begins like that in our country is the reason idiot’s like you are aloud to say things like.

    What good would his millions be if there’s nothing to spend it on?

  26. By Patrick on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Tillman, Hero.

  27. By adam larson on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    I still rock both my #42 ASU jersey…. that Tillman actually gave to me after a home game vs. Wash St. LIL backstory, I was in HS ROTC and we were in our uniforms after helping with the flag ceremony b4 the game started. We were in the end zone and he spotted us and just took his pads off and handed me his jersey… that will be a day I never forget… So I have that jersey which I dont wear and a different 42 that I do wear. Then 2 yrs ago I got a 40 in CARDS red from my parents…. I rock that jersey every day that ur supposed put a USA flag out… u know like vets day memorial day, etc

    I wish my knee would allow me to run this year, but I am definitely there next year!!!

  28. By Denise on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    We (the Greater Philadelphia chapter of the ASU Alumni) had our Shadow Run this morning. This is the second year we’ve hosted it. We had about 25 runners including a quite a few veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA). It was awesome!

  29. By Javy on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    OK DARREN here’s the 411 our cardinals really need a QB but maybe in the draft we’ll get one and also we really need our 4th wide reciever one who will be Matt Leinarts best friend some one like TORRY HOLT you have told me that we dont need him but we do some one else who comes in minde is terrel owens who do you think will best help our team??

  30. By Andre on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply


    Calm down. DRC#1FAN has a point. We all love Pat for who he was, unfortunately that entailed sacrificing too much. Whether it was the deal he turned down, or the sacrifice to defend this country. These are all bad choices, which is why we love him, he put principles above everything. That’s what makes him a great icon.

    Do you think his family hates the decision he has made? I’m absolutely sure they do, but they still love him.

  31. By Jahstone on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Pat Tillman is my hero…he felt the same thing I felt in my blood when thinking about this great country…he represents the good in sports and battle, and should be a role model to many. Humble, disciplined, and kept his mouth shut while letting his actions do the talking. There is a higher place for people like him!!

  32. By Ctownbeatdown on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    He joined because of what happend on sept. 11. Is that really a stupid decision if a guy wants to protect his family? If a guy takes a good look in the mirror, and realizes that there is something more important then football?

  33. By 82dAirborne on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Andre how were those bad choices? Just because he turned down more money doesn’t make it a bad choice. That’s just ignorant. If that’s what Pat wanted to do, who are we to judge it a bad choice. Seriously man.
    And sacrificing yourself to defend your country is a bad choice?! Man you better consider yourself lucky so many brave have mad the “bad choice” so you could live a better life.

    That’s just stupid.

  34. By 949cardsfan on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Darren, what Pat did (was) for the “greater good”, not just “what he (saw) as a greater good.”
    Pat Tillman, one of the top five human beings I’ve seen in my life time!

  35. By DRC#1FAN on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    who thinks we are in Iraq and Afghan to save someone? and who here thinks its a government or fat cat decision at the expense of the american people. Im not saying dont love your family, but I am saying war is wrong. and it doesnt make heros. the people I have lost over there and the ones who came home. they dont want you to celebrate and glorify war. its ugly and its death. its horried and shouldnt be celebrated. thats it period. Pat had family in the military and what not, so I get why he would want to be there with them. and I dont know him. there could be a million other reasons. so like I said, sorry pat. didnt mean to offend. but in the end. I’m glad we have football games to attend and not a war to watch instead. at least in football. death isnt the reason we are there.

  36. By DRC#1FAN on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    and all people who say that the war is defending us. last time I checked. the war is way on the like… opposite side of the world. tearing apart other peoples homes. wouldnt you want to end the war if it was here? think about everyone and not just your american big mac freedom. so stupid man. seriously.

  37. By DRC#1FAN on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    GO CARDINALS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! hope you pansy wastes cheer as hard as you cry. then we are gonna rock the stadium this year.

  38. By Mikeflorio on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    DRC#1Fan welcome brother- Welcome Finally someone has proven they have more sense then the rest of these bandwagon fans in here. DRC we should go toilet paper the memerioal bridge of his too.

  39. By AndyStandsUp on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    DRC, just as delusional as your posts are, you have a right, thanks to Tillman and the millions who have served before.
    And therefore, so do I.
    What a bunch of bullcrap to intimate that Pat made a “bad decision”. You didn’t even suggest it, you came right out and said it. He made a life altering conscient answer that he was passionate about, much like to play football at ASU, become a good student, make the Cards as a seventh round choice, turn down the Rams offer and the biggest- to try and make a difference in the world at that time.
    He paid the ultimate sacrifice, like almost 5,000 others, to ensure that idiots, like yourself, that won’t listen to their wives, bash on what should be a celebration.
    Go back to your Chicken Pot Pie and answer that question- 2 minutes or 3?

  40. By Ctownbeatdown on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    Does your wife proof read your posts DRC#1fan?

  41. By jrd on Apr 17, 2010 | Reply

    drc and andre

    Get a clue, if it is possible to be more irresponsible, arrogant and ignorant about truth I would be shocked. Spare the rest of us the fate of enduring anymore of your worthless thoughts regarding what is and isn’t worth fighting and if need be dying for.

  42. By JoeyPorterFan on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Here is what Pat Tillman’s family thinks.

  43. By Alex on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Darren and Joe-B
    The USO center in Bagram Air Base is named after Pat. That is where they did the FOX broadcast from. I have been there twice and its always packed with people trying to relax in a hectic place.

  44. By paydaman90 on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Eazy E

    Haha yeah Kobe is definitely a good baller, but crap for role model, and big Ben is just plain dumb, I like class acts like Warner, Them goofy manning boys, Jake Delhomme (even though he cried when let go) so yeah like i said all major sports teams need more men like Tillman and a lot less like the entire Lakers team.

  45. By paydaman90 on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Oh and Darren this is a heated session huh?! And thanks for the live chat Friday, that was awesome and I look forward to having more chats with anyone on the inside of the cards organization. IN WHIZ WE TRUST!

  46. By fitzis11red on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    As men and women and as human beings we all have principles that guide our decisions in everyday life. We all no right from wrong. Those of us who stick by our principles need to be respected and admired because these honors and traditions within the human race are receding. So, wether you agree with what Tillman did or not he was a man who stuck by what HE believed in and acted on it. It does not matter what we think. Pat Tillman is a hero in the true sense of the word. Wether wde agree with his principles or not.

  47. By words of wisdom on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    I have no doubt in my mind that Pat Tillman was probably a very nice guy. From what I understand, he was shot from behind and in the back of the head by his own comrades. Some people think it was an accident – for all we know, it could’ve been deliberate. Either way, to me his death serves as a reminder that our enemies aren’t always who we perceive them to be.

    Who says your enemy lives in the Middle East and wears a turban, or has dreadlocks, wears gold teeth and lives in the Ghetto? Your enemy is more likely to be someone you trust, or someone who is close to you, or who even wears the same uniform (Fort Hood). I don’t have to go to the Middle East to find my enemy, I just have to walk outside my door and go down the street. It could be someone who envies the house I live in, the cars I drive, or my lifestyle. That person could be jealous because my wife is extremely beautiful. The evil that is responsible for 911 is still alive and kicking and it doesn’t have a dent in it.

    The problem with most people and their line of thinking, is that if you’re opinion does not line up with what they are thinking – they treat you like the enemy and before you know it, they’ll be calling you a ‘terrorist’.

  48. By Dry Heat on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    “words of wisdom on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    I have no doubt in my mind that Pat Tillman was probably a very nice guy. From what I understand, he was shot from behind and in the back of the head by his own comrades. Some people think it was an accident – for all we know, it could’ve been deliberate.”

    I’ve never seen a more inappropriate screenname considering the contrast to the content of this post. Do a tiny bit of research, and it won’t be difficult to understand what happened on that day. While the truth did not come out immediately, as it should have, the Tillman family and many other good people, including many of Pat’s “comrades”, did make sure the truth came out.

    Pat’s run was great yesterday. Almost 20,000 runners in the 4.2 mile. PACKED!

  49. By 949cardsfan on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply


    Please do us all a favor and stop posting that garbage coming from the idiots like Wisdom and DRC. In your post, you were simply acknowleding a great man, and an event in his memory. Your always gonna have classless morons who dont get it. When these folks dont know when to shut up and be respectful, feel free to shut them up yourself.

  50. By darrenurban on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    949 —

    I understand where you are coming from, but I told myself long ago I couldn’t simply censor comments here. Barring foul language, you take the good with the bad.

  51. By Daniel Enfield on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Does everyone know that some times infomation about what happens in War cant come out right away. Especial in special operations.

  52. By Eazy E on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Well hey Kobe’s life is good right now. He’s the best player in the nba, just signed a fat new 3 year contract worth over 90 million, team is the best in the league, and has his own foundation and helps millions. He also got acquitted BTW!!! I agree Big Ben put himself in an awful position twice but he wasn’t charged, arrested, indicted, nothing. Warner is a great person and player, The manning brothers are cool, but eli acts a little too funny, and delhomme is a joke now lol.

  53. By 82dAirborne on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    Very true Daniel! But that’s no excuse to tell a family their son died in battle rather than by telling them friendly fire. The DoD didn’t even have to tell them how he died, which would be wrong yet still better than lying.

  54. By chris on Apr 18, 2010 | Reply

    ohhh wahhh seriously drc#1fan is just expressing his opion he is right …..but pat did have the balls to set football aside which says more than most players so people do us all a favor and go whine about a matter that acually matters

  55. By Dan on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    Pat had a family history in the military and lets not forget about the mindset most of us people had at the time of 9/11. Most of us were thinking about making a difference and Pat made that decision and you know he put his best foot forward for every second during his tours. Hero isn’t even a big enough word to describe Pat Tillman, he was a unique human being and its a bummer we all can’t follow him on his journey in life. Lets just say he’s been an inspiration to millions of people and will be for many, many years.

  56. By Dan on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    I won’t be able to attend the run BUT I’m a shadow runner. You can sign up as a shadow runner and get a nice shirt too.

  57. By NYCARDSFAN on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    Florio…are you being sarcastic or are you actually serious? Either way, you shouldnt be feeding the fire with your inflamatory statements. Some of our bloggers can take that extremely personal, and I would recommend you exercize some class. My opinion is that this is not the venue for us to air our political opinions. I think I speak for most of us here in the fact that this blog is all about THE ARIZONA CARDINALS, and we would like to keep it that way. I think 99% of us come here to talk football and we use our love of the game and the CARDINALS as a way of putting the unsavory aspects of life out of our minds for a short period of time. Does anyone think Pat would be happy to know what is going on here in his name? I dont.

  58. By darrenurban on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    NYCards (and everyone)–

    I think I’ll make this the last comment on the matter. Everyone, please don’t bother anymore with the back-and-forth. We’re all going to move on from here.

  59. By gordo on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    was just watchin espn. did u know about this bulldog that rides a skateboard and is a guiness book of records holder. when asked his name the guy said it was TILLMAN! named after PAT TILLMAN!

  60. By NYCARDSFAN on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    Uh darren, moving on was the whole point of my entry. Sorry if you took it wrong. Couldnt resist the slight “dig” at flo though.

  61. By darrenurban on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    NYCards —

    Oh I understood that. That’s why I made it the last word.

  62. By Scott H on Apr 19, 2010 | Reply

    Mike Florio – please do us all a favor and just go away. I have no idea what makes you say the things you say, but you are not well.

    Andre –

    I hear you but to answer your question – No, I don’t know what his family thinks or feels. And unless you have talked with them directly, neither do you. So let’s just stick to our own opinions and not speculate about what Pat Tillman’s family thinks. That’s their business and I sincerely HOPE that they are nothing but proud of him.

  63. By Harold Lochsmyth on Apr 20, 2010 | Reply

    It’s a shame to see misguided people dying for their ideals. The fact that he was aware of the injustice and false information, but still chose to honor his commitment makes him a hero in my book.

  64. By I Bleed Cacti (Next Time I Will Take Pictures) on Apr 22, 2010 | Reply

    Pat Tillman was my hero growing up.
    I won’t ever forget him.

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