Stories of Service and Sacrifice A Tribute to four Atheists who Served in the Military

Hey everyone welcome to a special veteran’s day edition of Fanaticsport. In this post, I am going to share the stories of three professional Athletes who have served in the United States Military


Pat Tillman – NFL

Pat Tillman is one of the most famous examples of service and sacrifice.Tillman was an outstanding football ball player in high school, leading his team to a state championship. While at Arizona State, Tillman was viewed an undersized linebacker, but he didn’t let that stop him. In his junior year, he led his team to their first Rose Bowl appearance. He also received numerous academic and athletic awards like Academic all American and Pac- 10 defensive player of the year.

In 1998, Tillman was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals where he moved to the position of Safety, racking up over 140 tackles in three years and becoming a leader on the team. After the terrorist attacks on September 11th, Tillman turned down a 1.2 million dollar contract and enlisted in the Army where he became an Amy Ranger. In 2004 Tillman was fighting in Afghanistan where he was killed by friendly. Tillman is survived by his wife Marie and his brothers Kevin and Richard.



Glenn Coffee –NFL

Image from Getty images

Glenn Coffee had a  promising career as a running back for the San Francisco 49’er. In his Rookie year, Coffee averaged 2.7 yards per carry and 6.9 yards receiving as a back up to star running back Frank Gore. After his Rookie season in 2009, Coffee decided to leave football to join the Army.

When Coffee left the NFL he told reporters at the Alabama Mobile Press-Register that  “I feel like it’s His will,” Coffee said. “It’s something that I really felt like I shouldn’t have entered the NFL in the first place. I don’t know what call God has for my life, but it wasn’t football. … I’ll be happier, not necessarily because I’m without football, but because I’m letting Him do his work”.

In 2013 Coffee became an army Ranger Paratrooper and after seven years of service, he is now attempting an NFL comeback.


Ted Williams –MLB

Ted Williams’s military journey started like many others during the World War II era. Willams was drafted at the start of World War II, but was able to defer because his mother was dependent on him.

After the 1942 season, he voluntarily enlisted in the Navy reserves. In 1945 Williams returned to baseball. In 1952 Willams was called into active duty to fight in the  Korean War. While in Korea, he became a Marine fighter pilot,  flying 39 missions during his time in the service.  Unlike most celebrities, Williams was put in danger numerous times. Hs friend and co-pilot, John, recalls a time when Willams landed on the runway on the belly of the plane and slid about 1500 feet before jumping to safety.  Willams is quoted as saying“It was the second-best thing that ever happened to me. If I hadn’t had baseball to come back to, I might have gone on as a Marine pilot.”



Tom Landry


This Legendary coach of the Cowboys and New York Giants player was a pilot during World War II. During his time as a B-17 pilot, he flew 30 missions deep into enemy territory. Landry was known for returning from his missions with a minimal amount of fuel. In one mission Landry crash landed in Belgium all nine men under his command were able to walk away from the crash.



Cool videos


Glenn Coffee Highlights




Pat Tillman  Highlights



Ted Willlams Highlinghts



That’s it for this post. Before I go I would like to say happy Veterans day to everyone who has served and protected our great country.

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