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Fear the Turtle


An offensive lineman on the University of Maryland football team won’t return for his final season of eligibility. Instead, he’s going to join the Army:

“It was an easy decision for me,” said Woods, who plans to attend Officer Candidate School after graduating from Maryland. “I know what I stand for, I know what this country stands for. I’m willing to sacrifice to fight for this country, to do what I think is right. That’s what I feel and I feel strongly about it.” …

Maryland Coach Ralph Friedgen, who remembers clearly the tear gas and draft lotteries of the Vietnam War era, said he had never heard of a player leaving early for service. …

Members of Woods’s family say that former NFL player Pat Tillman’s story inspired the decision. Tillman turned down a lucrative free agent contract in 2002 to join the U.S. Army Rangers. He died in a hail of friendly fire while in Afghanistan in 2004.

But Woods played down a comparison between himself and Tillman.

“It was a motivation for me, kind of,” Woods said. “His sacrifice was far more greater than I could dream of. He had millions and millions of dollars, he had a family.”


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