At his high school in San Jose, California, Pat switched from playing baseball to football, despite his smaller size.He excelled on the high school field, and his talent earned him a scholarship to play for the Sun Devils at ASU. He continued to excel in the sport at the university as a linebacker, leading the Sun Devils to the 1997 Rose Bowl after an undefeated season. He earned three consecutive selections to the Pac-10 All-Academic Football Team, a first-team Academic All-American honor, and the NCAA’s Post-Graduate Scholarship for academic and athletic excellence.
The Arizona Cardinals selected him in the seventh round of the 1998 NFL draft. Pat became the team’s starting safety and broke the franchise record for tackles in 2000 with 224. He remained loyal to his team throughout his professional football career and turned down a contract with the St. Louis Rams to continue playing for the Cardinals, despite the financial benefits of the Rams’ offer.
To read more about Pat’s story, visit the Pat Tillman Foundation. *Content sourced from the Pat Tillman Foundation and Biography.com.