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From Arizona Cardinal to Army Ranger

June 04, 2002

Pat Tillman's decision to forgo an NFL career to join the Army makes me feel both good and bad ("NFL Player Will Take the Field for Army," May 30). It makes me feel bad that I was too old to join in September. It makes me feel great about at least one athlete in pro sports.

While the pros are calling news conferences to deny steroid use, going to court for drunk driving cases, denying rumors about their sexuality and being accused of manslaughter, murder and spousal abuse, Tillman has decided to take a huge pay cut to join another team without the fanfare or chest-pounding associated with pro sports.

I doubt that the U.S. Army will print a card with his vital stats and, God forbid, his hits, kills and enemies wounded during the war on terrorism. It's not playing games anymore. It's real life.

I will follow his military career closely; he has gained my respect, admiration and best wishes. Thank you, Mr. Tillman, I know now that there is at least one man in professional sports.

Richard Mena

Pacoima

*

Thank you for putting Tillman's story on the front page where it belonged. What a remarkable human being, one whom our young people should hope to emulate. Now the NFL can say one of its players is truly a hero and not be guilty of hyperbole.

Catherine Wirtz

Westlake Village

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