PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Thousands of people want former Arizona State University and former Arizona Cardinals football player Pat Tillman's number retired league-wide in the National Football League. A Change.org petition was started earlier this month. The organizer has a goal of only 7,500 signatures. Tillman turned down a $3.6 million contract in 2002 with the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army. In 2004, his unit was ambushed in Afghanistan and he was killed by friendly fire. With the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks coming up in a few months, the petition organizer wants to honor Tillman's service and ultimate sacrifice. "It is my hope that for the rest of time, anytime an unknown person enters an NFL stadium, they will see TILLMAN 40 hanging from the rafters and his story will have to be told and his name will continue to be spoken," the organizer said online.
Tillman played his college ball at ASU, helping lead the Sun Devils to the 1997 Rose Bowl after an undefeated season. He was also voted Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year. In 1998, the Cardinals selected him in the seventh round of the NFL draft and became the team's starting safety. He broke a franchise record for tackles in 2000 with 224. Tillman enlisted in the Army in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks.
ASU and the Cardinals have honored Tillman in many ways. The Red Birds have retired his No. 40, named the plaza surrounding State Farm Stadium Pat Tillman Freedom Plaza and have a bronze statue of him. Arizona State retired his No. 42, called the locker room entryway into Sun Devil Stadium the Pat Tillman Memorial Tunnel, have PT-42 permanently on their jerseys and have the Pat Tillman's Center in the Memorial Union on the Tempe campus. Pat's Run raises money for the Pat Tillman Foundation that has been put on every year since 2005.
The NFL has never retired a jersey number league-wide. Major League Baseball retired Jackie Robinson's No. 42 and the National Hockey League retired Wayne Gretzky's No. 99 league-wide. The NBA hasn't retired a number league-wide either. For more on the petition, click/tap here.