Few knew Pat Tillman as well Jake Plummer.
The two played together at Arizona State, leading the Sun Devils to the 1996 Pac-10 championship and birth in the ’97 Rose Bowl. Reunited with the Arizona Cardinals just a couple years later they led the Cards to their first playoff win in decades. Their bond and friendship streched far beyond the playing field.
Now 10 years after Tillman’s death, Plummer will be part of an ESPN special airing Tuesday evening, “Pat Tillman: 10 Years Later An Enduring Tragedy” reflecting back on Tillman’s life and his controversial passing.
“The opening will be in my words, just what Pat meant to me,” Plummer told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent interview. “What I felt like he was as a person first and then a human and a friend and then a teammate and a war hero. I tend to not want to focus on how he died but more how he lived.”
He said he runs into strangers who had never met Tillman but view him as a role model and want to learn more about him from somebody like Plummer.
At the time of our interview Plummer had not seen the special but does plan on watching it when it airs.
He believes he still takes Tillman everywhere he goes.
“I miss my friend, I miss my buddy,” the ASU legendary quarterback, now Pac-12 Network analyst said. “He’s still…a thorn in my side telling me, ‘Hey, you talk about doing all this, you better get off your butt and do it.’ That’s kinda what Pat was all about.”
The special will air at 5:00 Tuesday evening on ESPN. It will include an exclusive interview with Steven Elliott, whose friendly fire may have killed Tillman in eastern Afghanistan. Elliott was a member of Tillman’s platoon.
Powerful interviews from former Army rangers Steven Elliott and Bryan O’Neal and an honor to share their stories.
— John Barr ESPN (@JohnBarrESPN) April 18, 2014