Saturday, July 04, 2009

Video: Steve McNair Killed [J. Mark English]

More from Judy Battista and Chris Hine of the New York Times:

Steve McNair, the former N.F.L. quarterback who shared the league’s Most Valuable Player award in 2003, was found dead Saturday with a gunshot wound to the head, according to the Nashville police.

McNair, 36, and an unidentified woman were found dead with gunshot wounds Saturday afternoon inside a condominium in downtown Nashville, the police said. The Associated Press quoted a police spokesman saying that the woman was not McNair’s wife, Mechelle. The police also said they had tentatively identified the dead woman but were not releasing her name.

McNair played for the Tennessee Titans for 11 years, taking them within inches of overtime against the St. Louis Rams in the Super Bowl after the 1999 season. He retired before the 2008 season after playing for two years in Baltimore. In his 13-year career, he established himself as one of the best quarterbacks of his era and earned the nickname Air McNair.

“The N.F.L. has lost a brother, and I believe black quarterbacks have lost a pioneer,” said Jets linebacker Bart Scott, who played with McNair in Baltimore.

The Houston Oilers, who later moved to Tennessee, drafted McNair with the third overall pick in 1995 out of Alcorn State, a historically black college where McNair first displayed his dazzling ability to scramble or throw — and a toughness that pushed him to play through numerous injuries. Other players marveled at his grittiness, and in 1999, he returned from early-season back surgery to take the Titans to the Super Bowl.

The greatest stretch of his career may have occurred in the 2002 season, when McNair had so many injuries that he could not practice for two months. He led the Titans to five straight victories to finish the regular season before they lost in the American Football Conference championship game.

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