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Remembering the legacy of Steve McNair

Saturday marks eleven years since former NFL quarterback Steve McNair’s untimely death. McNair, who spent the majority of his NFL career with the Tennessee Titans, was shot and killed by his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, in a murder-suicide on July 4, 2009, at an apartment not far from what is now known as Nissan Stadium.

McNair was just two years removed from the NFL at the time of his passing. He was 36 years old, and July of 4th has never been the same to Titans fans since that day in 2009.

Nonetheless, McNair’s legacy – from both at the collegiate level and in the pros — lives on. ESPN paid tribute to McNair, who played college football at Alcorn State, on Saturday with a graphic of his mind-boggling statistics from the 1994 college football season. McNair’s 6,281 combined yards of offense and 56 touchdowns that season sent him past more than a dozen records, and led to him finishing third in voting for the 1994 Heisman Trophy.

The No. 3 overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, McNair finished his 13-year (1995-2007) NFL career throwing for 31,304 yards with 174 touchdowns and 119 interceptions. In his 11-year career with the Oilers/Titans, he threw for 27,141 yards with 156 yards and 103 interceptions. He also rushed for 3,439 yards and 36 touchdowns. McNair went on to make the Pro Bowl three times.

Arguably the highlight play of McNair’s NFL career came in defeat. The play was his fourth-quarter scramble in Super Bowl 34 where he alluded two Rams defenders (Kevin Carter and Jay Williams) to find wide receiver Kevin Dyson for the first down in the closing seconds. That play put on full display his toughness and athleticism for everyone to see. On the next play, McNair found Dyson again. Dyson would come up one-yard short of the end zone. The Titans fell to the Rams in one of the more memorable Super Bowls ever, 23-16. Ironically, Carter would become a teammate of McNair’s in Nashville in 2001.

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