WASHINGTON, April 23 (UPI) -- Pat Tillman, who quit the NFL in 2002 to join the Army's Special Forces, died Thursday in Afghanistan, Pentagon officials said.
The Pentagon is not officially confirming his death because of its policy to wait 24 hours until after the family has been notified.
Tillman joined the Arizona Cardinals in 1998 after graduating with a 3.84 grade average from Arizona State University. He gave up a $3.6 million three-year contract to join the Army Rangers with his younger brother, Kevin, in May 2002.
He married his wife, Marie, in 2002, weeks before he joined the military and was assigned to the second battalion of the 75th Ranger Regiment in Fort Lewis, Wash.
As of Friday morning the Pentagon reported 79 military deaths in and around Afghanistan, with 49 of them killed in action.