Commentary on Uniqueness
Three examples of professional football players who served in the military are listed.
One of them served near the time Warren Wells was in the military and the other two served in 1969-70, and in 2002. Their names are Donald Steinbrunner, Patrick Tillman and James Kalsu.
The analysis reveals that Steinbrunner’s professional football career was completed “only after 8 games”. He was sent to Vietnam in 1966 and his plane was shot down on July 20, 1967.
The honorable service of Major Steinbrunner did not interrupt his football career or cause a career gap. Rather he served after his career ended because of injuries and met his fate in Vietnam in 1967, the year that Wells returned to professional football after his honorable discharge.
The research shows that Pat Tillman terminated his professional football career in May 2002, which is 35 years after Wells’ return to professional football, thus causing us to classified him as a contemporary rather than a senior player.
The honorable service of Tillman was ended by “friendly fire” in the mountains of Afghanistan, on April 22, 2004. The circumstances of his death were investigated.
James Kalsu played in 1968 (one year after Wells’ return to professional football), and to satisfy his ROTC obligation, he entered the Army and arrived in Vietnam in 1969 and he was killed in action on July 21, 1970.
His honorable service is dated after the term of service for Wells which was 1965-66.
This analysis points, again, to the uniqueness of the character of the career gap in Wells’ career.
All of the professional football players who are veterans are to be honored, and no less honor should be given to Wells’ who was a professional athlete before he was drafted, and who returned to professional football after his honorable discharge from the U.S. Army.
During the time Wells was in the military, there was the Vietnam war and the Cold War. Tensions were high during those years because of the upsurge of the Civil Rights Movement.
There were those who fled to Canada and other places to dodge the military draft, but a few good men (who were professional football players) responded favorably and served their country as soldiers in the United States Army and in other branches of the military.
For example in 1966 the research data indicates that two out of 960 professional football players were drafted while 382,010 men in America were drafted that same year.
Reference: Wikipedia and other sources