A former player proposed Friday that the Iowa football team be led onto the field this season by Hawkeye — the dog seen in a widely viewed photograph lying near the casket of his fallen Navy SEAL owner.
"It just tears you apart to see that (picture)," former Iowa fullback Jon Lazar told Hawkcentral.com Friday. "But I thought how great it would be for that dog to lead the Hawkeyes down to the field and to have the announcer tell the story of this dog. I think everybody would be crying in the stands."
The touching photo of Hawkeye exploded in popularity earlier this week, depicting the close bond between the Labrador retriever and his owner, 35-year-old Rockford, Iowa, native Jon Tumilson.
Tumilson, a Navy SEAL, was one of the 38 soldiers killed Aug. 6 when their helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan. His funeral was held Aug. 19, and according to those who attended, the dog laid near the casket throughout the service.
Lazar, who played for the Hawkeyes from 1975-78, said he spoke to head coach Kirk Ferentz’s secretary about the idea. Lazar said he was told the proposal would be sent to the athletic department’s event planners.
Iowa’s first home game at Kinnick Stadium is Sept. 3 against Tennessee Tech.