- The Washington Times - Friday, March 21, 2003

The risks that Pat Tillman took throwing his body around NFL secondaries is nothing compared to the danger the former Arizona Cardinals safety likely is facing these days.
Tillman, who made a team-record 224 tackles in 2000, walked away from a three-year, $3.6million contract last winter to enlist in the Army for $1,022 to $1,433 a month. Now Tillman, 26, and his brother, Kevin, a former minor league baseball player, apparently have been deployed to the Middle East with the rest of the 75th Ranger Regiment. Even relatives do not know specifically where they are.
The Tillmans have declined media requests since enlisting in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington.
"They don't want recognition separate from their peers," said their father, Pat Tillman Sr. "It's a pretty elite crowd they're running with. All of those guys are stand-up guys. I don't think you can pick one out and say one's better than another."
Pat Tillman, believed to be the first NFL regular since World War II to volunteer for military service, was chosen as the flag bearer for his unit, B Company of the 1st Battalion, 19th Infantry Regiment.
"It's a very tightly knit brotherhood of soldiers," said Carol Darby, spokeswoman for the Army Special Operations command. "You get a broad group of individuals. There has been a Harvard graduate, people from very moneyed backgrounds. For whatever reasons, they wanted to be associated with the Ranger community and the Ranger brotherhood."
No room for sentiment Junior Seau is the greatest defensive player in San Diego history and the top linebacker of his era with 12 Pro Bowls in 13 seasons, but at 34 he was tossed aside like a rookie free agent by hard-nosed second-year Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer.
"Junior embodies everything you want in a player work ethic, dedication, passion but we felt this was something we needed to do," Schottenheimer said.
Although the Chargers have given Seau's agent permission to seek a trade, apparently the only reason the San Diego area native wasn't cut immediately was because the team can't yet afford the salary cap hit of more than $1million such a move would cost.
"I never saw myself wearing another jersey," Seau said. "I've sacrificed so much for this game that I'm not ready to go. If you question my talents and my abilities, watch."
Zeke Moreno, who grew up in San Diego County watching Seau and then followed him to Southern Cal and the Chargers, is Seau's likely replacement. The move leaves Oakland receiver Tim Brown as the only active Hall of Fame lock still with his original team.
Now that Darrell Green has retired from the Washington Redskins, 15-year-man Brown also heads the list of 20 players who have been with their teams for at least 10 seasons. Next in line are Baltimore kicker Matt Stover and New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis (12 each). Quarterback Brett Favre and center Frank Winters have spent 11 years in Green Bay, and defensive end Robert Porcher and kicker Jason Hanson have done the same in Detroit. Atlanta offensive tackle Bob Whitfield, Dallas safety Darren Woodson, New York Giants defensive tackle Keith Hamilton and Jets linebacker Marvin Jones are the only others to have been with their teams for 11 years.
A Saint much longer? Best known for his helmet toss a couple of years back, talented New Orleans offensive tackle Kyle Turley is as eager to be ejected from the organization as the Saints are to trade him. During a recent radio interview, Turley labeled general manager Mickey Loomis "a bean counter" who doesn't know how to assemble a team.
"[The Saints] are badmouthing me in the media, saying that I'm a distraction," said Turley, 27. "I am anything but, and for them to say that about me is very damaging to our relationship to the point where it's irreparable. They have shown nothing but a lack of respect and a lack of loyalty.
"It just doesn't seem like this team cares about continuing to keep the players that it needs. Key players like Joe Johnson, La'Roi Glover, Willie Roaf, Ricky Williams, Chris Naeole just seem to be weeded out when it comes to anteing up. I'm really looking forward to moving on, getting somewhere that I can feel really good about, [where] the owner and the general manager on down to the coaching staff really cares about what's going on with their team and their key players."
Homeward bound After 21 years at the University of Northern Colorado, Denver will become the 10th team to hold training camp at its year-round facility. New England made the move this winter and Washington should do so soon, joining holdovers Cleveland, Detroit, Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, the Jets and Tennessee. Is it an accident that only the Titans reached the Super Bowl during the past five seasons?

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