Rockland County man starts online petition for NFL to retire Pat Tillman's number

A Rockland County man is on a mission to get the National Football League to retire the number of a player who died while serving our country.

Diane Caruso

Oct 24, 2022, 9:47 PM

Updated 575 days ago

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A Rockland County man is on a mission to get the National Football League to retire the number of a player who died while serving our country. 
Sean Z. Wilson, of Pearl River, left his job to become a Marine in 2018. Now, he's been recently focused on a mission to retire Pat Tillman's number leaguewide. 
"There is no number in the NFL retired across the league. Baseball has Jackie Robinson, hockey has Wayne Gretzky and the NBA now has Bill Russell who recently passed," says Wilson. 
More than 80,000 people have signed a change.org petition Wilson started in 2021.
Wilson's movement has gone beyond the internet, with people sharing the message on the streets of New York, Washington, D.C., Mt. Rushmore and elsewhere. 
"They do say that a man is never dead until your name is spoken one last time. So, my goal is, an unknowing kid, an unknowing person walks into a NFL stadium, they'll have to see that 'Tillman 40' hanging from the rafters and his story will have to be told," says Wilson. 
It's a story that has inspired Wilson. Tillman left his professional football career with the Arizona Cardinals and enlisted in the Army after the Sept. 11 attacks.
Tillman died from friendly fire in April 2004. He was 27.
"Seventeen months in, and we still haven't heard back from the NFL," says Wilson. 
Wilson says his questions have gone unanswered, but it's not stopping him.
"Slowly but surely, we're not going to stop. Whether it's yes or no. The end goal is to get an answer," he says. 
News 12 reached out to the NFL for comment but has not yet heard back.


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