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The Death of Steve McNair

7-06-09

Remembering Air McNair

This is the type of article you don’t want to write. Nobody wants to write about a guy who, in his prime, was one of the best at what he did. In 2003, Steve McNair was the co-MVP with Peyton Manning. In 2000, his most memorable year as a starting quarterback, McNair led the Tennessee Titans to the Super Bowl and was one-yard short of taking the championship game in to overtime.

He was respected by his peers, feared by his opponents and loved by his teammates. You could not have asked more from a football player than what McNair gave you. In death he is missed. In life, he is revered for what he did for the game. He was one of the game’s warriors.

In a month filled with celebrity deaths, including Farrah Fawcett and Michael Jackson, McNair is the tragedy amongst sports lovers because of the grit and leadership he brought to the gridiron. Like anyone else, he was fraught with his own personal troubles. Being found dead with a girlfriend (of sorts) in a vicious assassination manslaughter will certainly cause the rumor mills to spin.

McNair, found dead on the scene by a friend with his “friend” nearby, is the latest tragedy in a summer filled with losses. Initially drafted by the Houston Oilers as a first round pick in 1998, McNair will forever be remembered as a Tennessee Titan, a team he served faithfully before giving up his starting position to Vince Young.

But his game will always be remembered for its toughness. McNair was one of the first true rushing quarterbacks, posting 3,590 yards on the ground complimented by 37 rushing touchdowns. The man known as Air McNair was feared for his elusive rushing attack, as well as his passing attack. With guys like Kevin Dyson and Derrick Mason, McNair posted 31,304 passing yards with 174 touchdowns with an overall quarterback rating of 82.8 throughout his career. It is an understatement to say that Steve McNair was one of the best at his position all-time. He was a rushing threat and a passing dynamo all in one. Above all, he was the kind of quarterback that you left everything on the field for because he did the same in return for his teammates.

There will be a lot of rumors, speculation and here-say about what happened the night of Steve McNair’s death. But, like all great lives, I prefer to think of how they lived and not how the died. McNair lived and breathed football during his time on this planet, and he showed a never-say-die attitude that we wished a slew of our current NFL heroes displayed today.

Steve McNair will forever be attached to the one-yard-short reception by Kevin Dyson. Perhaps it epitomizes his career; he was always a guy on the verge of greatness, but never one to take the mantle. Even at his best, in 2003, he had to share the MVP trophy with Peyton Manning. He was a guy that rightfully came up short on the gridiron, but he never failed his fans with a lack of effort.

We will certainly miss you, Steve McNair. Rest in peace.

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