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A Salute To Dennis Gardeck As Award Nominee

Linebacker's commitment to honoring military communities noted

Dennis Gardeck came into the NFL having learned much about Pat Tillman, long before it turned out he was going to play for Tillman's former team. But there was something beside the sport that ties Gardeck and Tillman.

Tillman eventually joined the military after his playing career; Gardeck did consider seriously going into the military when he was a junior in high school and colleges hadn't provided any scholarship offers for football.

"I wasn't really in love with football (then) or anything, so I started doing ROTC PT (physical training)," Gardeck said, adding that he interviewed for an ROTC scholarship that included a physical test. "My mom wasn't really having it."

Football fortunately worked out.

"There are a lot of similarities," Gardeck said. "The risk is nowhere near where the (military) is at, but the camaraderie, there are relatables."

Gardeck is this year's Cardinals nominee for the NFL's Salute to Service award presented by USAA. The nominees are those who are committed to support the military community, which Gardeck does in much of his community work. Fans are encouraged to vote at from now until November 30 to determine the three finalists.

Gardeck has already made "three or four" trips out to Luke Air Force Base with Cardinals Salute to Service events, forming relationships with some of the airmen (even bringing one out to the recent Ravens game at State Farm Stadium).

"I don't have anyone military in my family but I have friends," Gardeck said. "it's something pretty near and dear to me. This is a huge honor."

LB Dennis Gardeck
LB Dennis Gardeck

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