Rick Cleveland reminisces about McNair

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As a Titans blogger, it seems natural that I would write a lengthy, personal commentary about his career and his death.

I’m shocked, upset and angry about the death of Steve McNair. This comment will have to suffice.

Journalists, bloggers, fans and critics have had much to say about the former Oilers, Titans and Ravens quarterback. Rick Cleveland of the Jackson Clarion-Ledger has been watching Steve McNair for the past sixteen years. He reminisces about seeing McNair play in high school:

McNair played that day in a state championship football game for Mount Olive, and he never came off the field for a rest. He kicked off, through the end zone, to start the game. He threw passes; he intercepted a pass; he threw for a touchdown; he ran for a touchdown; he made almost every tackle; he punted; and he returned kicks and punts. He won the game almost single-handedly.

McNair won the respect of many for his actions on and off the football field, including legendary quarterback Archie Manning:

“I just got off the phone with Peyton (Manning), and he’s pretty much in shock. He loved to compete against Steve, and they had some unbelievable games against each other. Peyton played in Nashville last fall when they retired Steve’s (Tennessee Titans) jersey. That was a special day for Peyton because he had so much respect for Steve.

I always enjoyed Steve’s company, too. We always had that Mississippi bond. This hits me like Walter (Payton) did. They were both too damn young to die.”

Steve McNair was a warrior, and he will be missed.

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