From Cleats to Boots

<p>One of the greatest soldiers on the Grid Iron is now becoming a soldier in the greatest Army of all. DB Pat Tillman is hanging up his cleats and putting on a pair of boots. Tillman announced on May 23rd that he will be giving up his NFL career to join his brother Kevin in the United States Army.</p>

Tillman will immediately begin boot camp in hope of attending Ranger's school. Pat informed President William Bidwill and Head Coach Dave McGinnis of his attentions last Wednesday. Bidwill and McGinnis both had lengthy one on one meeting's with Tillman to discuss his plans. While McGinnis prefers to keep much of his meeting private he did say, "This is very serious with Pat. It's very personal and I honor that. I honor the integrity of that. It was not a snap decision he woke up and made yesterday. This has been an ongoing process and he feels very strongly about it." Bidwill also declared to keep their meeting private but was very much in support of Tillman's decision saying, "I admire Pat's determination to make a commitment to his country."

Tillman has been known for his hard hitting style on the field after being drafted out of Arizona State in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft will now bring his aggressive style and strong work ethic with him to defend the country he loves. Tillman was hit hard by the incident on 9/11 and never fully recovered from the shock. He always thought he should be doing more and now he has the chance.

While some may consider this a strange move, it can not be confused for an attempt to gain publicity. Tillman, who recently married has a lot to lose but more to gain. Pat was playing a child's game, trying to entertain America and beyond while a war was being fought. It could have been easy for him to sit back and due his job while other men and women died for our freedom. Instead, Pat is giving up the American dream and fighting so that we can pursue ours. In a time where athletes are making the headlines for all the wrong reasons, Pat Tillman is making a difference in our lives so that our kids can one day watch the game he loved to play. Will this be the end of Tillman's NFL career? Who can say for sure, but if he never plays a down in the NFL again, he has already become a hero.

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