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Collected Wisdom: Spencer Tillman, former OU running back/CBS college football broadcaster

Spencer Tillman is the lead studio analyst for CBS Sports' college football pregame show, and he was a captain on OU's 1985 national-title team and a co-captain on the San Francisco 49ers' 1990 Super Bowl-winning squad.
by Jason Kersey Published: January 26, 2013
/articleid/3749557/1/pictures/1937582">Photo - Former OU running back Spencer Tillman, shown in March 2011, is now a college football analyst for CBS. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman Archives <strong>STEVE SISNEY - THE OKLAHOMAN</strong>
Former OU running back Spencer Tillman, shown in March 2011, is now a college football analyst for CBS. Photo by Steve Sisney, The Oklahoman Archives STEVE SISNEY - THE OKLAHOMAN

There's some negative things as well. We lost a child. Watching my mother go through a difficult battle with diabetes and losing both legs. Losing a brother, who dies to AIDS-related lymphoma. Things like that are tragic, but they all go in this big pot and make you who you are. That's kind of where I am.

I've got four girls. I love my girls. But he was born and died shortly thereafter. To see something that looks like you, is built like you and totally dependent upon you, and physically is a spitting image of who you are, and not to be able to pour into their life ... maybe it's selfish to say this, but I was so looking forward to being a father to a son.

I've been able to be that to my girls, no question about that, but I would've loved to pal around with my little boy and do some of the things fathers get a chance to do. It was not to be. But I've got a special place in my heart for him. Blake is his name.

When my brother died, I was 28 years old and in the prime of my NFL career. I was with the San Francisco 49ers, and my sister called and told me what happened. I immediately flew to Oklahoma and was there at his deathbed.

I listened to him articulate the events that led up to that moment, and the individual who abused him, and basically told him that if he'd told anyone about it, he would kill everybody in our family. It absolutely shaped him and crushed him.

That's the reason why when this Jerry Sandusky garbage came out, I didn't hold back because I'd seen what it could do to the lives of the people involved. It was tragic because it had happened to my brother.

My family was in New York City, and some couple remembered that I worked at WABC, the ABC affiliate, and they asked me for my autograph. My 9-year-old — at the time — was looking up at me, and I caught her out of my peripheral, running back vision. When they left, she looked at me and said, ‘Why do they want your autograph? You ain't nobody.' I was like, ‘Well, you know that, and I know that. But they didn't know that.' My family keeps me grounded.

by Jason Kersey
OU Sports Reporter
Jason Kersey became The Oklahoman's OU football beat writer in May 2012 after a year covering high school sports and OSU recruiting. Before joining the newspaper in November 2006 as a part-time results clerk, he covered high school football for...
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