And why did he leave? Plummer thinks for a moment. “You gotta understand,” he says, “I loved playing in the NFL. I put my heart and soul into it. And at that point, especially after Pat [Tillman died], it was like, there’s so much more to do in life.” He pauses. “And people go, What, it’s the NFL! I even told Gruden, ‘Hey, I used to watch your games and check the stats. Your quarterback would throw like three picks, and you guys would still win. Now, you don’t think I don’t want to play for you guys? I can come down there and throw all the picks I want, and we’re going to win. But you know what, I still don’t want to play for you. It’s not against you. It’s because I don’t want to play.
Another reminder of how Tillman affected many. This also reminded me of something Arthur Ashe once said:
When there was talk of a 1968 Olympic boycott at Mexico City by black members of the United States team, he considered not competing in that first United States Open at Forest Hills, but rejected that form of protest.
“My situation is different,” he said. “In tennis I’m the only one. I can make my protest heard by winning. If I chose not to play, who’d miss me?”