The death of Pat Tillman, a former NFL player who quit his career to join the U.S. military after 9/11, has been the subject of controversy for years.
Tillman's family presented evidence that the former Arizona Cardinal was shot by "friendly fire" in 2004 and how the Bush administration tried to cover it up in the acclaimed 2010 documentary "The Tillman Story" (video below).
Steven Elliott, a former U.S. Army Ranger who was part of Tillman's platoon in Afghanistan, told ESPN's “Outside the Lines” today that he might have fired the shots that killed Tillman, reports Reuters.
“It is possible, in my mind, that I hit him,” Elliott stated.
“The mantra is that when all else fails, you do what your team leader does, you go where your team leader goes and you shoot where your team leader shoots,” added Elliott. “Effectively, him firing at that position is, is the same as his giving an order to fire. If I could change what happened, I would change it in a heartbeat.”
Originally, the Bush administration claimed that Tillman was shot by enemy fighters in an ambush, but evidence found by Tillman's family pointed to U.S. soldiers.
As it has countless times before, the U.S. Army declined to comment on Tillman's death or Elliot.
The ESPN special will also include an interview with former U.S. Army Specialist Bryan O'Neal, who was with Tillman when he died.
"He is the one who basically saw Pat killed, heard Pat's last words, and has been living with that all that time," ESPN coordinating producer Tim Hays told Sports Illustrated. "He is not all that forgiving for the people responsible for it. You have these two men on opposite sides of the tragedy and in a lot of ways they suffered in exactly the same way every sense."