Pat Tillman has a place in Canton with Hall of Famers

There is a unique display at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio, that includes former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman.

The tale was told during a discussion about Tillman on the Pro Football Hall of Fame radio show on SiriusXM NFL Radio Wednesday.

Alex Garwood, co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation and Pat’s Run that will take place for the 20th time on April 13, was on the show co-hosted by me and Rich Desrosiers, the chief communications and content officer at the Hall.

Desrosiers relayed how a Tillman football card wound up on a large display on a wall of the Hall along with many Hall of Famers.

He explained, “A display of football cards that probably totals at least 500 cards is this mosaic of what is supposed to be exclusively members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And we learn after this wall of 500 cards is put together there is a singular card in this collection. How it came to be, how it came to be inserted in the pack it was pulled from I’m not exactly sure. I’m not sure our staff is exactly sure. But it’s Pat Tillman.”

Desrosiers then told Garwood, Tillman’s brother-in-law, what happened next.

“It’s on the wall and a couple of people step back from the wall and they have a decision to make,” Desrosiers said. “Do they pull the card down and replace it with a Hall of Famer or do we leave it up there to tell a different story? And we have decided since this display went up a couple of years ago to leave the card up.”

That leads to some interesting moments as Desrosiers noted, “We challenge people, ‘Hey find the card on this wall that isn’t a Hall of Famer’ and whether they do or don’t, eventually we point it out to them and it gives us an opportunity to not just tell Pat’s story in the singular aspect, but to tell Pat’s story as we have here today in the context of there are Hall of Fame values beyond running, blocking, tackling and passing that will outlive the football message that will endure.”

That prompted Garwood to thank Desrosiers for telling the story and saying, “What an honor for him to be included in that wall and then the flip side, for those men to be included next to him.”

Photo by Rich Desrosiers

While Tillman doesn’t have a bust in the Hall, there’s no question that the words “Hall of Fame” describe Pat Tillman in terms of the mission of the Hall and how he is a Hall of Famer in so many other ways.

As the Hall’s mission statement succinctly says:

“Honor the greatest of the game. Preserve its history. Promote its values. Celebrate excellence together.”

Tillman surely lived those words.

The show on SiriusXM will air again Arizona time from 2-4 am Saturday, and Sunday from 5-7 am and 3-5 pm. It can also be heard on demand on the SiriusXM app.

The segment begins at about the 35-minute mark and here is the link for the entire show.

Here is the clip about the football card:

Visit the Pat Tillman Foundation site for more information about it and the annual Pat’s Run. 

Listen to the latest from Cards Wire’s Jess Root on his podcast, Rise Up, See Red. Subscribe on Apple podcasts or Spotify.


Story originally appeared on Cards Wire