Cardinals players honor Pat Tillman before game: 'American by birth, patriot by choice'

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The Arizona Cardinals and several players honored the late Pat Tillman on Sunday as they got set to play the Carolina Panthers.

Chandler Jones, J.J. Watt and Maxx Williams were among those who were supporting Tillman and his family as the Cardinals paid tribute to the later U.S. military servicemember as part of their Veterans Day celebration and Salute to Service program.

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 14: A general view of fans applauding during the singing of the national anthem before the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

GLENDALE, ARIZONA – NOVEMBER 14: A general view during the singing of the national anthem before the game between the Carolina Panthers and the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Glendale, Arizona.
(Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Tillman joined the U.S. Army in May 2002 following the 9/11 terror attacks, turning down a contract extension from the Cardinals. Tillman was serving as an Army Ranger in Afghanistan when he was killed by friendly fire in 2004 at the age of 27.

He was an All-American linebacker for Arizona State and was selected in the seventh round by the Arizona Cardinals in the 1998 NFL Draft. 

Tillman was a starting safety for Arizona and broke the franchise records for tackles in 2000 with 224.

Tillman was inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame in 2018.

Former Arizona Cardinals safety and U.S. Army Ranger Pat Tillman will be inducted into the Arizona Sports Hall of Fame.
(AP Photo)

In the wake of his death, the Pat Tillman Foundation was created to honor his legacy. The foundation hosts an annual run to raise money that goes to support veterans and military spouses.

Fox News’ Dan Canova contributed to this report.

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