Tillman's rightful place? "The Hall of Fame as a human being"

April 22 is more than Earth Day. It's Pat Tillman Day, too. The former Arizona Cardinals' defensive back was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan 11 years ago, and his former coach Dave McGinnis tells us how he remembers him. "If you're talking about the Hall of Fame as a human being," he said, "then he should be the first person in that Hall of Fame."


 (Photo courtesy of the Arizona Cardinals)

Talk of Fame Network

April 22 is more than just Earth Day. It’s Pat Tillman Day, too.

It was 11 years ago the former Arizona safety was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan, and since that time people in and around the National Football League have struggled to find ways to honor and remember him. One of those was Sunday Night Football’s Cris Collinsworth, who a year ago suggested Tillman be given pro football’s highest honor – a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

“I cannot name one person in NFL history who represents what I would like the NFL to be more than Pat Tillman,” he tweeted. “Shouldn’t that be enough HOF?”

It’s an intriguing idea and one that we wanted to hear more about. So we asked Tillman’s last head coach, Dave McGinnis, on our latest Talk of Fame radio broadcast, what he thought of it … and while he didn’t necessarily agree with Collinsworth; he didn’t disagree, either.

“There are a lot of facets to (the Hall of Fame),” said McGinnis, now an assistant with the St. Louis Rams. “Pat, and rightly so, has been tremendously honored by the National Football League with a lot of very cool things in his honor … and he needs to continue to be.

“To me, the Hall-of-Fame thing … if you’re basing it on the criterion of playing, no, he didn’t play long enough. Didn’t have a long enough career, and there wasn’t enough of that. But if you’re talking about the Hall of Fame as a human being and the Hall of Fame of what every young football player should aspire to be as a person … then he should be the first person in that Hall of Fame.”

McGinnis spent over 25 minutes talking to us about what Tillman meant to him, the Cardinals and the NFL, and while the conversation was edited for the radio we made the complete, uncut version available today for one reason.

It’s Pat Tillman Day, and people should never forget.