Yesterday was a sad day for football fans. As you all know by now, Steve "Air" McNair was found shot dead in an apparent murder/suicide.
I was very saddened by the news. I used to watch the Titans play just because of Steve and Eddie George. I didn't care that they were the Colts' rivals. When those guys were playing for the Titans, you knew it was going to be a good game.
If you don't remember, here are some highlights of his career.
McNair was drafted by new Head Coach Jeff Fisher in the 1995 draft. For the first two seasons, he sat on the bench.
In 1997, he played his first full season. His 2,665 passing yards were the most for an Oilers quarterback since Warren Moon in 1993. He only threw 13 interceptions that year. That was the lowest in franchise history.
He also ran for eight rushing touchdowns and 674 yards, ranking second behind George.
In 1999, McNair led the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV. That season, McNair missed five games because of back surgery. However, he came back and came up a yard short of beating the Rams in the Super Bowl.
What I remember the most about McNair was his toughness. I can't count the number of games he played while suffering from injuries that would have left most quarterbacks sitting on the sidelines. Steve could take several hits, stay upright, and still complete a pass for a touchdown.
He was also an outstanding mobile quarterback. You never knew when he was going to take off with the ball and run for a touchdown. Together, McNair and George created a lethal running attack.
In 2003, he was voted co-MVP with Peyton Manning. What's especially impressive about this is that he missed two games that season due to a calf injury.
In his first year with the Ravens, he went 13-3 but lost to the Colts in the second round of the playoffs.
His last season with the Ravens was hard to watch. All of those hits he took when he was younger had finally caught up with him. He was no longer the McNair who could throw the ball forty yards down the field or take off and run with it.
After thirteen seasons, McNair announced his retirement in April of 2008.
McNair married Mechelle on June 21, 1997, and had four sons: Steve, Jr., Steven, Tyler and Trenton.
Steve also had several off-the field-issues. He was arrested twice for DUI, and one of those arrests included a charge for illegal gun possession.
According to Sirius NFL radio, it was well known in Nashville that Steve had several "apartments" around the city for his women. However, Steve was so beloved by local residents that no one cared.
Unfortunately for Steve, his personal problems finally caught up with him. On July 4, 2009, Steve was shot to death in an apparent murder/suicide. Steve had been shot several times, while his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, was found dead with a single shot to the head.
It deeply disturbed me to learn about the less savory aspects of Steve's personal life. I never knew about any of this and had always thought of Steve as a stand up guy.
I will always remember Steve for the great football player he was. However, I have to say I have less respect for him as a person. He is leaving four sons and a wife behind, embarrassed and alone, because of his philandering. That's the saddest part of this whole story.
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