Arizona State unveiled a statue in the north end zone at Sun Devil Stadium Wednesday to honor former NFL player and Army Ranger Pat Tillman who was killed while serving overseas in 2004.

Tillman gave up his NFL career to join the military following the 9/11 attacks. He played football for the Sun Devils and graduated from ASU in 1997.

The bronze statue features a wonderful quote from Tillman that reads, “Somewhere inside, we hear a voice. It leads us in the direction of who we wish to become. But it is up to us whether or not to follow.”

Tillman’s family and friends attended the unveiling ceremony along with school officials and longtime supporters.

“Pat spent his whole life trying to be the best person he could possibly be,” Tillman’s brother, Kevin, said before the drape was dropped. “He didn’t focus on money, he didn’t focus on fame, he didn’t focus on a pretty statue. It was, ‘How can I make myself a better person in all these different facets of my life?’ And ASU gave him an opportunity to do that.” (ESPN)



Arizona State and its athletics department have long made the effort to make sure Tillman’s legacy carries on. Along with numerous pictures and paintings adorning the walls, a “Tillman Tunnel” was also created at the stadium.

Debuting in 2013, it was a redesign of the existing tunnel in the south endzone that most prominently featured a large image of Tillman on the gate, allowing him to symbolically lead the team onto the field on game day.

“That’s why we have Tillman Tunnel, because we want our guys to embody that heart of a champion he had,” Graham said. “He embodies what being a Sun Devil is all about. Service. Sacrifice. Badass tough.” (

With the statue comes a new tradition. ASU head coach Todd Graham said players will touch the statue each time they take the field.