Steve McNair was fatally shot in Nashville, Tenn., today. He was 36 years old.
Born on Valentine's Day in 1973, "Air" McNair displayed great heart throughout his life. The three-time Pro Bowler, who shared MVP honors with Peyton Manning in 2003, was a dual threat on the field as he passed for 31,304 yards and ran for 3,590 yards during his 13-year career. Eleven of those seasons were spent with the Tennessee Titans/Houston Oilers and then he finished up with a two-year stint in Baltimore.
"Steve was special and as tough and competitive of a guy that I have ever been around," said Jets head coach Rex ryan, who served as the Ravens' defensive coordinator during McNair's B-more tenure. "As soon as we got him in Baltimore, he gave our team instant confidence and I was fortunate to be around him for two seasons. As great of a player as he was, it was more of an honor to know him as a person. My heart and prayers go out to his family."
As football fans, we were fortunate to watch McNair. Noticed first for his ridiculous athleticism, he was a gutsy gamer who always played through injuries. Listed at 6'2" and 230 pounds, the Mount Olive, Miss., native, who attended Alcorn State and was the No. 3 overall selection of the Oilers in 1995, was country-boy tough and a natural leader.
After founding the Steve McNair Foundation back in 2001, McNair worked to help underprivileged children through programs and grants.
"I am in utter disbelief. Steve always came to work with a smile and a joy about him," said Jets LB Bart Scott, a teammate of McNair's with the Ravens. "I remember him as a dad that brought his kids to the facility and we all embraced them as our own. Not only will Steve's family miss him, but the entire NFL family has lost a brother. His death was far too early and my thoughts and prayers are with his family."