NFL Superstar Rolls Out New Shoe to Honor Fallen Military Hero


Arizona Cardinals defensive end J.J. Watt released a shoe design Wednesday to honor the late Pat Tillman.

Tillman was a Cardinals safety who left the NFL to join the Army following the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

While he was serving in Afghanistan, he was killed by friendly fire.

The shoe — called the JJ IV Valor — will be the latest in Watt’s signature line of Reebok shoes, the Cardinals said in a post on their website Tuesday.

Tillman’s widow, Marie Tillman, helped design the red and gray shoe, which will be available Thursday.

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“It has been an absolute privilege to work hand in hand with Pat’s wife, Marie Tillman, and CEO of the Pat Tillman Foundation, Dan Futrell, to ensure that this shoe properly and appropriately represents and honors Pat in a way that he would be proud of,” Watt said, according to AZ Central.

The shoe includes “PT40” inscriptions, a Pat Tillman Foundation sock liner and a commemorative hangtag.

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Reebok will donate $10 for every pair sold, up to $10,000, through Aug. 31 to the Pat Tillman Foundation.

Watt, who joined the Cardinals this year after 10 seasons with the Houston Texans, said he will donate all his personal proceeds to the foundation.

“Pat Tillman lived his life in service of a purpose bigger than himself,” the three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year said in a statement.

“That is his true legacy. This shoe is a small way to pay tribute to a legendary man, by not only honoring him, but also donating to the foundation established in his name and ensuring that his legacy lives on.”

Watt is honoring Tillman as part of his annual act of giving back to the military, according to ESPN.

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“I truly believe that they’re the ones that deserve the amount of praise and fame that we as athletes get because they’re the ones that protect us and protect our freedoms and give us the opportunity to play this game for a living,” he said.

After joining the Cardinals, Watt said he has been a “long-time fan” of Tillman.

“J.J. exemplifies our values of scholarship, service, humble leadership and impact,” Futrell said.

“In J.J., we see someone who shares Pat’s passion for living, his tenacity on the football field and off through his deep investment in making a difference in his community and on a global scale. We’re grateful to partner with him and Reebok on this latest release.”

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Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. A University of Oregon graduate, Erin has conducted research in data journalism and contributed to various publications as a writer and editor.
Erin Coates was an editor for The Western Journal for over two years before becoming a news writer. She grew up in San Diego, California, proceeding to attend the University of Oregon and graduate with honors holding a degree in journalism. During her time in Oregon, Erin was an associate editor for Ethos Magazine and a freelance writer for Eugene Magazine. She has conducted research in data journalism, which has been published in the book “Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future.” Erin is an avid runner with a heart for encouraging young girls and has served as a coach for the organization Girls on the Run. As a writer and editor, Erin strives to promote social dialogue and tell the story of those around her.
Tucson, Arizona
Graduated with Honors
Bachelor of Arts in Journalism, University of Oregon
Books Written
Contributor for Data Journalism: Past, Present and Future
Prescott, Arizona
Languages Spoken
English, French
Topics of Expertise
Politics, Health, Entertainment, Faith