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Recalling the life of Pat Tillman, whose 47th birthday would be today

© Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

Today is Nov. 6, a day that the Arizona Cardinals and Arizona State University communities both continue to have a special place in their hearts as it would have been the 47th birthday of American war hero, Pat Tillman.

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A Fremont, California native, Tillman received a football scholarship from ASU and began his college career as a linebacker in 1994.

There, Tillman would be the Pac-12 conference’s Defensive Player of the Year in 1997.

After he graduated in marketing as a Sun Devil, Tillman was drafted by the Cardinals with the 226th selection in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL Draft.

Then, Tillman transitioned into a safety in his rookie season as a professional football player.

Overall, Tillman spent four campaigns from 1998-2001 with the Cardinals recording 340 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, 3 fumbles forced and 3 recoveries in 60 NFL games.

Heroic Legacy

However, after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Tillman rejected a three-year contract worth $3.6 million from Arizona to enlist in the United States Army and fight to protect his country instead.

Initally, Tillman was deployed to Iraq to take part in Operation Iraqi Freedom in September of 2003.

Following his time in Iraq, Tillman was sent to Afghanistan not long after.

Unfortunately, that was where Tillman would be eventually killed.

Tillman died by friendly fire from an allied force during a gun battle with Afghan militants on April 22, 2004.

Soon after, Tillman earned Silver Star and Purple Heart medals from the army for his unforgettable service.

Furthermore, the Cardinals placed him in their franchise’s Ring of Honor and retiring his #40.

Additionally, ASU also retired his #42 following the tragic event.

Ever since his death in 2004, the Pat Tillman Foundation was born thanks to friends and family members of his.

The foundation’s goal is to help veterans and their spouses with financial support towards pursuing a higher education which is called the Tillman Scholars Program.

Also, they have hosted 19 “Pat’s Run” events at Sun Devil Stadium.

Every year, people across Arizona and the country run around the field to raise donations as well.

When remembering the war hero in Tillman, both ASU and the Cardinals shared emotional messages to pay homage to their former player.

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Alec Cipollini is the lead reporter of the Arizona Coyotes and Cardinals for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on his X account @AlecCipollini

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