Tuesday, January 19, 2016

From the Football Field to the Combat Field

Pat Tillman
On November 6th, 1976, Patrick Daniel Tillman was born in Fremont, California. He was born to Mary and Patrick Kevin Tillman. Pat is the oldest of his two other siblings, Kevin and Richard. Pat was very good at football and started it at a very young age. He went to Leland High School, and he led his team to the Central Coast Division I Football Championship.
Tillman went to college at Arizona State University to play football as a linebacker. Pat and the rest of the Arizona State Devils had an undefeated season and won the Rose Bowl in 1997. That year Tillman won the Pac-10 Defensive Player of Year and was Arizona State University Most Valuable Player of the year.
Not only did he excel on the football field, he exceeded expectations in the classroom. In 1996 and 1997 he won the Clyde B. Smith Academic Award. In 1998 he won the Sun Angel Student Athlete of the Year. He majored in marketing, and he had a 3.85 GPA in his three years in college.
In 1998, he was drafted to the Arizona Cardinals as the 226th pick. He played safety for the Cardinals. That year he started 10 out of 16 regular season games. In 2000, he turned down a five-year $9 million dollar offer from the St. Louis Rams. His contract with the Cardinals ended at the end of the 2001-2002 season. The Cardinals offered him a Five Year- $3.6 million, but he turned it down to join the military because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. He finished his NFL career with 238 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2.5 sacks, and 1 forced fumble.
Pat and his brother, Kevin, enlisted on May 31, 2002. Pat had to leave football, and Kevin had to leave baseball in the MLB.
Kevin was drafted in the 31st round in the MLB Amateur Draft to the Anaheim Angels in 1999. He was traded to the Burlington Indians and only played one year before enlisting.
The brothers finished basic training together in September of 2002. After that, Pat and Kevin were assigned to 2nd Ranger Battalion in Fort Lewis, Washington. Tillman and his family lived in University Place, Washington for a year before he was deployed in Iraq.
Tillman participated in the 2003 Invasion of Iraq called Operation Iraqi Freedom. After that invasion, Pat was deployed in Afghanistan at FOB Salerno.
On April, 22, 2004, him and his platoon were in a canyon in eastern Afghanistan when they were ambushed by members of al Qaeda. An Afghan ally was also killed in action that night. The platoon’s leader, First Lieutenant David Uthlaut, and the Radio Telephone Operator, Jade Lane, were wounded in the ambush.
The ruling of Pat’s was being killed by a terrorist in an enemy ambush, but the Department of Defense and the U.S. Congress opened an investigation on it. They never concluded anything, but most of the evidence supports the fact that his death was due to friendly fire.
Although no one will ever know how Pat Tillman died, we do know this, he is a hero. Pat finished his military career with a Silver Star, a Purple Heart, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Glen Coffee
Glenwood Razeem “Glen” Coffee was born on May 1st, 1987. He was born in Fort Walton Beach, Florida. He went to high school at Fort Walton Beach High School. He then went to college, to play football, at Alabama University where he had a very decorated collegiate career.
His freshman year he played all 12 games for the Crimson Tide in the 2005 season, but it was very minimum playing time. His season- high was 15 carries for 75 yards against the South Carolina Gamecocks. He finished the season with 48 carries for 179 yards, eight catches for 91 yards, and one receiving touchdown.
Glen redshirted his sophomore year, but when he returned Nick Saban was the new head coach. That season Coffee and Terry Grant split time at starting running back. In the Crimson Tide’s first game Glen Coffee scored his first rushing touchdown of his collegiate career. At Alabama’s Homecoming he had his first 100-yard game. He finished the 2007 season with 129 carries for 545 yards, four rushing touchdowns, and 18 catches for 142 yards.
Glen Coffee’s junior year he was the starter in all 14 games the Alabama Crimson Tide played that season while splitting time between Roy Upchurch and Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram Jr. That season he had his best college game with a win over Kentucky; he finished the game with 25 carries for 218 yards and one rushing touchdown. That season the Crimson Tide made it to the Sugar Bowl where he had his season low of only 36 yards in a 31-17 loss against Utah. In the 2008 season Glen finished with 233 carries for 1,383 yards, 10 rushing touchdowns, 16 catches for 118 yards, and 1 receiving touchdown.
Glen Coffee entered the 2009 NFL Draft and was selected by the San Francisco 49ers in the 3rd round. His rookie year he was the backup for Frank Gore. After that season Glen Coffee retired from the NFL and enlisted to the United States Army to become a paratrooper after a situation with the police.

In June 2013, he graduated from the United States Army Airborne School. He is now a paratrooper at Ranger School, and is part of the 6th Ranger Training Battalion.

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