|No. 94, 95|
October 10, 1976|
|High school:||Bakersfield (CA)|
|NFL Draft:||1998 / Round: 2 / Pick: 41|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NFL statistics|
Jeremy Ray Staat (born October 10, 1976) is a former American football defensive end who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1998 and the St. Louis Rams for two games in 2003. He also played for the Los Angeles Avengers arena football team. He is a United States Marine, and has served in Iraq.
Staat was a two-sport star in Bakersfield High School in California, where he was All-Area selection. He then attended Bakersfield College, a junior college, for two years before transferring to Arizona State University.
At ASU, Staat became friends with free safety Pat Tillman, and was a roommate with Tillman's brother for a semester. Staat and Tillman drank and partied hard during their college careers, and Staat initially did not understand why an NFL-bound player would require higher education. While playing for the Sun Devils, he won the Morris Trophy as the best defensive lineman in the Pac-10 Conference in 1997.
In the 1998 NFL Draft, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected Staat with the 41st overall pick. He played three seasons in Pittsburgh, starting in eleven games in the 1999 season. He was cut by the Seattle Seahawks in 2001, and began seriously considering joining the military after the September 11, 2001 attacks. However Pat Tillman, who had quit a lucrative career with the Arizona Cardinals to become a U.S. Army Ranger after the attacks, talked Staat into staying in the league for at least three more games to earn his NFL retirement benefits.
Staat eventually earned his pension during stint with the St. Louis Rams during the 2003 season. The following season, he joined the Los Angeles Avengers of the Arena Football League. During the 2004 season, he found Tillman had been killed in action in Afghanistan, in what was later revealed to be a "friendly fire" incident. The loss of his friend further reduced his interest in football, and he soon left the Avengers and professional football.
Immediately after football, one of Staat's friends got him a job working at a Walgreens drug store. Staat, like Tillman's family, was dismayed by the United States Army's handling of the story surrounding Tillman's death; himself noting that "The fog around his death was thickened by lies." However, after spending time deciding on his own future, he opted to follow his deceased friend and teammate's example and join the military; but instead of the Army, he joined the United States Marine Corps.
Staat joined the Marine Corps in 2006. He completed his recruit training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego in March 2006. ”The way I look at it, we’re spreading freedom, and you have to support the troops and you have to support the war,” Staat, 29, told KITV in Honolulu. ”You can’t just tell some Marine who just lost his buddy that we supported you but not the war, because in that case you’re basically saying that Marine, his buddy, just died for nothing. We’re one team.” In March 2007, Lance Corporal Staat deployed with 1st Battalion 3rd Marines for a seven-month mission in Iraq. He was an infantry machine gunner and drove around in seven-ton armored trucks used to transport soldiers.
Staat's Iraq tour was fairly quiet. His unit suffered two injuries and no one was killed in action. His opinions changed: "It wasn't a blood fest, like some people make it out to be. It was pretty controlled. We had a pretty good sense of security. My eyes were opened up. They [the Iraqis] were just people. I expected to see guys running around with AK-47s, shouting about Allah and shooting into the sky." After returning from his tour, he started to have back, hip and heart problems. He was put on light duty and began the process of seeking a medical discharge.
Reversing his previous opinion of higher education, Staat opted to return and finish his degree. He graduated from Arizona State University in 2009. He completed his master's degree and returned to his hometown of Bakersfield, where he teaches welding at Bakersfield College.
- Ted Miller, From ASU to the NFL to Iraq, Staat finally graduates, ESPN.com, May 14, 2009, Accessed May 14, 2009.
- ^ "NFL Draft - Jeremy Staat - April 13, 1998". Sports Illustrated-CNN. Retrieved 2006-03-17.
- ^ NFL.com wire reports (March 23, 2007). "Tillman's college roommate deployed to Iraq". NFL.com. Archived from the original on 2007-03-29. Retrieved 2007-03-23.
- ^ Staat, Tillman's ASU teammate, joins Marines retrieved March 17, 2006
- ^ Associated Press (March 21, 2006). "Former Tillman teammate headed to Iraq". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on March 28, 2007. Retrieved 2007-03-21.