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Staat was close friend of Tillman's

5/26/2004

CULVER CITY, Calif. -- Lineman Jeremy Staat won't return to
the Los Angeles Avengers this season as he mourns the death of his
friend Pat Tillman.

Staat, who was placed on the AFL's suspended list Wednesday,
played with Tillman at Arizona State. Tillman left the NFL's
Arizona Cardinals to join the Army in 2002 and was killed last
month in Afghanistan. He was 27.

"We talked about it and decided it would be best that he take
the rest of the season off," coach Ed Hodgkiss said. "He was
intimately close with Pat Tillman. He had issues to deal with."

Staat last played May 9 at Tampa Bay. He was in his first season
with the Avengers after playing in the NFL for the Pittsburgh
Steelers from 1998 to 2000. He played two games with St. Louis last
year.

Whether Staat will return to the Avengers next season will be
decided in the offseason, Hodgkiss said.