bill-swift - May 30, 2012
All weekend long I am sure that many of you have read a thousand stories about professional athletes that have served in the military, many of whom lost their lives in the process. The chief subject among most of them of course was former Arizona Cardinals safety Pat Tillman who turned down big bucks in the NFL to fight for his country after 9/11.
It's not surprising that Tillman would get so much attention; it is well deserved. Little do most people know, but there is actually a pretty long history of pro and college athletes opting to serve rather their country rather than play a game.
To give names of those that have served or passed while fighting for the country is disrespectful to those that were not college or pro superstars. The athletes fought just the same as everyone else and for the same reason. They fought so we don't have to. They didn't fight for the attention.
I am sure that they are proud of their service and appreciate it when people recognize them and say thank you. However, they probably like it even more when the men and women of the military as a whole are thanked; not just them because they played football or baseball.
Just ask Daniel Rodriguez. He would likely agree with that sentiment.
The former Brooke Pointe High School standout was all set to play college football when tragic circumstances ended up guiding him to the military instead. He joined the Army in 2007 and went on to serve two tours of duty, one in Iraq and the other Afghanistan where he saw action earning a Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
He was honorably discharged in 2010, and began working towards realizing an old dream. He still wanted to play college football.
It looks like he will get his chance. Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney saw the video Rodriguez made, and has offered Rodriguez the chance to walk on with the Tigers. The NCAA has to clear Rodriguez first, but it is hard to imagine that they will not.
Watch the above video and see if you don't become a Clemson fan just to support Daniel Rodriguez. I dare you.
Article by Travis Pulver