Pat Tillman was a professional football player who walked away from the game after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 to join the U.S. Army and fight for our country.

A stand-out at Arizona State University, Tillman was named Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year as a senior before being drafted by the Arizona Cardinals. After just three years in the NFL, Tillman turned down a multi-million dollar contract offer from the Cardinals to enlist in the U.S. Army.

Tillman served multiple tours of duty, including Operation Iraqi Freedom, before he was killed during a mission in Afghanistan in 2004.

The East-West Shrine Game® Pat Tillman Award is presented to a player who best exemplifies character, intelligence, sportsmanship and service. The award is about a student-athlete's achievements and conduct, both on and off the field.


Air Force safety, Weston Steelhammer

The 2017 recipient is Air Force safety, Weston Steelhammer. A native of Shreveport, La., Steelhammer was named first-team all-Mountain West, second-team AP All-America, a finalist for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, and a semi-finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award. He led the Falcons in tackles for the second straight year with 75 and has 4.5 tackles for loss and a sack. He led the Mountain West and ranked fifth in the nation with six interceptions. He has 17 for his career which ties the Academy record and led the FBS.

“Weston has the courage, sense of sacrifice and care for others to be an Air Force Officer,” said Air Force head coach, Troy Calhoun.

Steelhammer started his Shrine Game experience with a visit to Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa where he played with patients on the basketball court, pushing them on swings, taking photos and signing autographs. He spent the week practicing with his teammates under defensive backs coach of the Indianapolis Colts, Greg Williams, and West head coach George Edwards, defensive coordinator of the Minnesota Vikings.

“Weston epitomizes everything this award is about,” said Shrine Game executive director, Harold Richardson. “Through his service in the Air Force, he has demonstrated commitment, sacrifice, and dedication to our country. On and off the field, he has exhibited his outstanding character.”

Pat Tillman Award Recipients (2005-2016)

Keenan Reynolds Navy QB East Game 91 Jan. 23 2016
Jake Ryan Michigan LB East Game 90 Jan. 17 2015
Gabe Ikard Oklahoma OC West Game 89 Jan. 18 2014
Keith Pough Howard University LB West Game 88 Jan. 19 2013
Tauren Poole University of Tennessee RB East Game 87 Jan. 21 2012
Josh McNary United States Military Academy LB East Game 86 Jan. 22 2011
Mike McLaughlin Boston College LB East Game 85 Jan. 23 2010
Collin Mooney Army FB East Game 84 Jan. 17 2009
Justin Tryon Arizona State DB West Game 83 Jan. 19 2008
Kyle Shotwell Cal Poly SLO LB West Game 82 Jan. 20 2007
Charlie Peprah Alabama S East Game 81 Jan. 21 2006
Morgan Scalley Utah S West Game 80 Jan. 15 2005