Pat Tillman: "Exactly the guy you wanted out there playing for you"

With the 11th anniversary of the death of Pat Tillman approaching, we checked in with Pat's former coach, Dave McGinnis, to ask him what he remembered of his former safety. And what he remembered is all good. "There's not a head coach in the league who would not have wanted Pat Tillman playing for their football team," he said.

(Photos courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals)

Talk of Fame Network

Next week is all about the NFL draft. This week is about the NFL draft … and Pat Tillman.,

The former Arizona Cardinals’ safety died 11 years ago on April 22, the victim of friendly fire in Afghanistan. So we took time out our recent Talk-of-Fame broadcast to honor Tillman by visiting with his former head coach, Dave McGinnis, who addressed the “legend of Pat Tillman,” as he called it, and explained why Tillman embodied what is right about football.

Tillman was a seventh-round choice out of Arizona State, and he was everything the Cardinals hoped for – and more. He was talented. He was responsible. He was tough. He was accountable. And he was a born leader.

In short, he was what NFL teams are looking for in next week's draft.

“Pat Tillman was the most principled human being I’ve ever been around in my life,” said McGinnis, now an assistant with the St. Louis Rams. “The cool thing about Pat was is that (he) appealed to all groups. Pat was a free spirit, but he was also a super intellectual.

“He was a tough guy. He had a real gentle heat. He was just so honest and so open and so principled and just so cool. You know how some people … when you’re around them … they’re just so cool? And they’re cool in a way you know there’s a lot of good stuff to them? He was so thoughtful and so deep, but at the same time he was a man’s man.

“He’s exactly that guy you wanted out there playing for you. There’s not a head coach in the league who would not have wanted having Pat Tillman playing for their football team because of everything he embodied and what he brought.”