The shocking news of the Shooting Death of NFL All Star quarterback Steve McNair over the weekend is still reeling through the Tennessee Titans family..his former Team.
It also hits home to us here in Memphis, where McNair began buidling his reputation as Pro Football Tough Guy, who lead his team to Heights it had never known.
The year was 19-97.
The Houston Oilers had just moved to Tennessee from Texas.
Their first home was here in Memphis as the Tennessee Oilers while their new stadium was being built in Nashville..
From the moment Steve McNair stepped on the Practice Field at Rhodes College..
Memphis NFL fans fell in Love with their New Local Hero.
For a city that had hosted numerous meaningless exhibitions..McNair's presence leading the Oilers to Memphis' First NFL Regular Season game against the Oakland Raiders was more than reason to celebrate..it was a license to go crazy..
McNair led his team to victory..showing passing skill...and a willingness to sacrifice his body on the run..
When the franchise completed its' move to Nashville the next season and became the Tennessee Titans.. McNair was at the Helm of a club that eventually reached the Super Bowl, and earned himself Co Player of the Year Honors.
For it all to end Saturday at age 36..a married man shot to death in a Nashville Condo next to his 20 year old girlfried, who was also killed., was almost more than his Close friend and Teammate Eddie George, and Head Coach Jeff Fisher, could bare.
At a hastily called news conference at the Titans Training Facility, Jeff Fisher had these words.
"The Steve I knew would want me to say...sorry. I'm not perfect, please forgive me.."
Eddie George had this to say:
"I'm saddend by the loss of a dear friend. I can't judge him.. I don't want to be judged. I want to celebrate the life of a man who was a true warrior on the field, and who was kind and charitable off it."
A memorial service is planned for McNair on Thursday in Nashville.