In Memory of Steve McNair

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Fans formed a shrine at Steve McNair’s new restaurant. Photo by Andrew Strickert for Total Titans.

Our Fourth of July was saddened with the shocking news of the senseless death of Steve McNair and our condolences, thoughts and prayers are with his family.

This tragedy certainly put a damper on my weekend so I now want to remember some happier times.

I will always remember his toughness – that will always be first and foremost in my mind. The times he missed practice all week, was listed as “Questionable” or “Doubtful” and then played well will not be forgotten.
 
I will especially remember the Giants game in the Meadowlands, when he led the Titans from a late eight-point deficit to an overtime win. Neil O’Donnell told the story of fully expecting to start and buying 40 or 50 tickets for some family and friends in New Jersey. McNair was in bad shape and could barely get off the team bus before the game. But that didn’t stop him from playing or from throwing a late touchdown pass and running in the tying two-point conversion with just seconds left in regulation.

I will remember him coming off the bench (yes, there were actually a few times he didn’t start) to replace a concussed O’Donnell to lead the Titans to a come-from-behind victory in Pittsburgh, throwing a TD pass to Erron Kinney.
 
I will remember some specific plays forever. The long run against the Jaguars in the AFC Championship game that plunged a dagger into their hearts. The fourth down touchdown pass to Drew Bennett to beat the Texans. 
 
I will remember the final drive in the Super Bowl.
 
A few years later, McNair would console Drew Bennett for not being able to make a tough catch in sub-zero temperatures in New England.
 
I will remember the man off the field, his foundation which benefited kids in Tennessee and Mississippi. His football camps for kids. His relief effort to help Hurricane Katrina victims.
 
McNair was very giving and generous, earning well-deserved recognition for his work in the community. He was honored with the Walter Payton award, the Byron “Whizzer” White award and a local Man of the Year award.
 
I will remember the class of Steve McNair. When the Titans weren’t able to keep him in Tennessee due to a prohibitive salary cap situation, Steve took the high road. He handled an ugly situation with class and dignity, even though the Titans front office didn’t.
 
Steve McNair was a great player on the field and probably an even better person off the field.
 
Tough guy. Warrior. Competitor. All-Pro. Humanitarian. I’ll remember him as all of those.
 
Titans fans, please share your memories of Steve McNair with us.
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