Friday marked the fifth anniversary of the death of Steve McNair.
McNair was shot and killed by his 20-year-old girlfriend, Sahel Kazemi, in a murder-suicide on July 4, 2009. McNair -- just two years removed from an NFL field -- was 36 years old.
An imposing figure who could make plays with his arm and legs, McNair was a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback who played for the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Titans and Baltimore Ravens. McNair is one of the few quarterbacks in memory who could inspire fear in a safety when he lowered his shoulder. Simply put, he was a prototype of his position.
McNair's 1999 Titans team famously came within a yard of tying Super Bowl XXXIV in the final seconds. Kurt Warner, the winning quarterback in that game, recently spoke about McNair with reverence during an NFL Network special about that Super Bowl.
"I remember watching him make a lot of plays in this game where you just sit back and I'm probably thinking, 'Man, I wish I could do this,'" Warner said. "I wish I had this part of my game.' "
McNair was legendary for his toughness. Longtime teammate Eddie George raved about McNair's "inner strength" in an 2012 NFL Network interview.
"I don't think I ever saw Steve practice a full week," George said. "He spent the majority time in the trainer's room trying to get his body right. He was just so mentally tough. He would go out there on Sundays and play from his heart. You could see how he just uplifted everybody, you could see how he uplifted his own spirit to go out there and play beyond the threshold of pain."
You can't ask for much more from a teammate. McNair was special.