Long before University of Miami tight end Kellen Winslow, Jr. declared himself a “soldier” — when in reality he was just an entitled 20-year-old playing college football — the ranks of great American athletes who actually served in the military was deep. It’s only gotten deeper. Here are 18 athletes who put their lives on the line to serve in the U.S. military. Full disclosure: It’s nearly impossible to compile a complete list of accomplished collegiate, professional, and Olympic athletes who saw time on the front lines, and even a comprehensive record is absurdly long; this is a sampling of both lesser-known athletes with prolific service records and household names who put Hall of Fame careers on hold for the benefit of their country.
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