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NFL Player Will Take The Field For Army

 

 
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Washington Post
July 9, 2002

NFL's Tillman Is In The Army Now

NFL player Pat Tillman made a living pushing his body to the limit, putting himself through grueling training and sweating it out in the summer heat. This year, he's doing it for the Army for a lot less money.

The 25-year-old starting safety for the Arizona Cardinals told coaches last year that he wanted to join the Rangers—the Army's elite infantry unit—and train with his younger brother, who enlisted with him.

Tillman turned down a three-year, $3.6 million contract with the Cardinals to make $18,000 per year for an uncertain future, since there is no guarantee he will make Ranger.

Basic training began yesterday at Fort Benning in Georgia. Tillman has rejected all requests for an interview about his decision.

Tillman's goal will be difficult. Only 35 percent of all candidates get to wear the coveted black and gold Ranger tab. Physical fitness is key, but Army training is different from sports.

"Mental toughness separates those that drive on," retired Ranger Capt. Todd Bearden said. "When you take away somebody's sleep and somebody's food and push them to the limit, it changes the dynamics of everything."


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