Tillman Remembered by the Cardinals

From Associated Press

The Arizona Cardinals honored Pat Tillman on Sunday at Tempe, Ariz., in an emotional halftime ceremony that featured the fallen player's widow and other members of his family.

In her first public comments since her husband's death, Marie Tillman thanked everyone who had supported the family.

"It really helps us knowing that his spirit and memory live on in all of you," she said to the rousing cheers of the crowd.

She was joined at midfield by Tillman's brother Richard and his parents. Cardinal vice president Michael Bidwill presented Marie Tillman with a framed Pat Tillman jersey.

A giant No. 40 jersey was unfurled in Sun Devil Stadium, where Tillman played as a star linebacker for Arizona State and an overachieving safety for the Cardinals.

Tillman left a lucrative contract in the NFL in 2002 to join the Army Rangers with his brother Kevin. He was killed April 22 in Afghanistan, the first NFL player to die in combat since the Vietnam War. He was 27.

In a video message on the giant screen at the stadium, President Bush praised Tillman and others who have died in combat in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"As much as Pat Tillman loved competing on the football field, he loved America even more," Bush said. " ... Courageous and humble, a loving husband and son, a devoted brother and a fierce defender of liberty. Pat Tillman will always be remembered and honored in our country."

Tillman was shown talking about what the flag meant to him in an interview conducted after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

"My great-grandfather was at Pearl Harbor," Tillman said. "A lot of my family has done far more. I really haven't done a damn thing as laying my butt on the line like that, so I have a great deal of respect for those that have, and what our flag stands for."

Also speaking via video, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) who was a prisoner of war in Vietnam, said of Tillman: "While many of us may be blessed to live a longer life than Pat did, few of us will ever live a better one."

Every NFL player wore a decal bearing No. 40 this weekend. The Cardinals will wear it all season.

No. 40 commemorative pins were distributed to everyone who came to Sunday's game.

"We're very humbled," Tillman's brother-in-law Alex Garwood told reporters before the game. "I don't presume to speak for him certainly, but if he were here, you can bet that he would be looking each and every one of you in the eye and saying 'Thank you.' "

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The Baltimore Ravens say they won't forget the hit Pittsburgh linebacker Joey Porter leveled on an injured Todd Heap during the second quarter of Sunday's 30-13 rout of the Steelers.

Heap, a tight end, had twisted his right ankle on the previous play when he gingerly took his place on the line as Raven quarterback Kyle Boller prepared to spike the ball. As Boller thrust the ball downward, Porter shoved Heap backward.

Heap could barely lift himself off the turf and was removed for the remainder of the game.

Afterward, the Ravens were livid about Porter's seemingly unnecessary hit.

"It just shows what type of character that guy has," linebacker Ray Lewis said. "When you take a cheap shot like that and just try to hurt somebody, it goes way outside of your character and shows what type of spirit he really has. You just pray for him."

Porter contended Heap might have been bluffing.

"It looked like he was hobbling, but at the same time, I don't know if he was fake hobbling," Porter said. "I've seen a lot of guys that looked hurt and kept playing. They fall on the ground and get up and run a play."

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The Cleveland Browns' No. 1 draft pick, tight end Kellen Winslow, was injured when the team recovered an onside kick. The Browns' website said the team feared Winslow had a broken leg.

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