Titans coach talks about 'the Steve McNair that I knew'

Monday, July 6, 2009 at 4:12pm

Tennessee Titans’ coach Jeff Fisher went to great lengths Monday afternoon to preserve a positive legacy for former quarterback Steve McNair, who was murdered Saturday in a room where a 20-year-old girl with whom he had a relationship also died.

Fisher repeatedly referenced “the Steve McNair that I knew” as he talked about McNair’s love for his family, his teammates and his community.

“The Steve McNair that I knew would want me to say, ‘Celebrate my life for what I did on the field, for what I did in the community, the kind of teammate that I was,” Fisher said. “That’s what Steve that I knew would want me to say.”

Fisher’s first full season as head coach was 1995, the year the then-Houston Oilers drafted McNair third overall out of Division I-AA Alcorn State.

McNair played 11 seasons for the Oilers and Tennessee Titans (all under Fisher), nine of them as a starter. He made the Pro Bowl four times in his career, was the 2003 co-MVP and led the Titans to their only Super Bowl appearance.

“I’ve known him for 15 years, endured wins and losses, joy and laughter, sadness,” Fisher said. “I watched one of the greatest competitors of all time on the field do whatever it took to stay on the field. I watched one of the best teammates (one) could ever have be a teammate to everybody, extend a hand to everybody.

“The Steve McNair that I knew was a great person. … I will miss him, and I ask you to honor what he did on the field and in the community. What he was is a tremendous teammate. That is his legacy, and I’m proud to have been a part of that.”

Updates to this story will follow.