Air McNair was a true professional his entire career
Steve McNair, third overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft of the former Houston Oilers and the current quarterback of the Baltimore Ravens, has announced his retirement after 13 seasons.
Known at his alma mater, Alcorn State for his air-it-out style, he was given the moniker “Air McNair”. Recruited by most schools to play defensive back, Alcorn was one of the few schools to recruit him as a quarterback. In his senior season, McNair passed for 4,863 yards and 44 touchdowns, he would also rush for 936 yards. He would finish third in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Colorado’s Rashaan Salaam and Penn State’s Ki-Jana Carter. Despite his outstanding numbers at ASU, critics point to McNair attending a small school and not facing Division 1-AA talent for his third place finish.
In the 1995 NFL Draft, McNair was selected third after Ki-Jana Carter and Tony Boselli, respectively.
McNair doesn’t get the respect he deserved for being a true warrior
McNair led the Tennessee Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV in 1999 –in one of the most thrilling endings in Super Bowl history McNair drove the Titans 89 yards down field only to have wide receiver Kevin Dyson brought down at the 1-yard line as time expired, insuring a 23-16 victory for the St. Louis Rams.
McNair is widely respected around the NFL for his willingness to play injured. At one point, McNair at the request of the coaching staff did not practice during the week, only to play on game days. In 2003 McNair was named NFL Co-MVP along with Indianapolis Colts signal caller Peyton Manning.
In 2006, after an ugly divorce from the Titans where he was not allowed at the team facility while still under contract, McNair was traded to the Baltimore Ravens, in a move that I thought would put the Ravens over the top, McNair was hampered by injuries and never regained his form.
My memories of Steve McNair are those of a player who left it all on the field. Whether it was a pulled groin, a sore back or a partially torn shoulder, you could never count McNair out. He was a leader, not too vocal but the kind that led by example.
Godspeed Steve and Thank You.