A former Pittsburgh Steelers player is leaving a career in professional football to join the military, following in the footsteps of his college teammate, Pat Tillman. Private First Class Jeremy Staat, a former defensive lineman who also played for the Saint Louis Rams, graduated from the San Diego Marine Corps Recruit Depot on Friday. Tillman, a defensive back for the Arizona Cardinals, was killed by friendly fire near the Pakistan-Afghanistan border in April 2004. Tillman gave up a $1.2 million NFL contract to join the Army Rangers.
Staat played for the Steelers from 1998 to 2000, and played two games with the Rams in 2003. He was playing for the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League before being put on the league's suspended list. Staat says he didn't think it was right paying professional athletes and entertainers millions of dollars but only "pennies to a dollar" to military personnel, who are risking their lives.