The NFL has seen its share of small college players find success in the pros.
These rather obscure athletes from destinations mostly unknown made a name for themselves on the sport’s biggest stage.
Names such as Andre Reed (Kutztown University), Larry Little (Bethune-Cookman), Wayne Chrebet (Hofstra), and Shannon Sharpe (Savannah State) come to mind.
Another former small college player who made it big in the pros was Steve McNair.
McNair came out of tiny Mount Olive, Mississippi, played at slightly bigger Alcorn State, and found stardom as a professional athlete.
He overcame long odds to nearly win college football’s highest award as well as the biggest game in the NFL.
McNair’s unfailing belief in himself inspired many other young athletes from around the country.
He became someone that people could look up to as a testament to what you can achieve if you put your mind to it.
After his pro career ended, McNair began a second act as an ambassador to young people.
Then, his life was taken from him before his post-career aspirations had barely begun.
This is a look at the life and career of Steve McNair.
Growing up in Mount Olive
Stephen (Steve) LaTreal McNair was born on Valentine’s Day 1972 in Mount Olive, Mississippi.
It later became known that he was born in a small tin-roofed house and shared that space with four brothers, Fred, Jason, Michael, and Tim.
Life in Mount Olive really got interesting when McNair entered high school.
During his four years at Mount Olive High School, McNair excelled in three sports, football, baseball, and basketball.
As a junior, he led the Pirates football team to the state championship.
In addition to quarterback, McNair also played running back and free safety.
In his senior year, he intercepted 15 passes which raised his prep career total to 30.
That tied a state mark for total interceptions.
After his senior season, McNair was named a high school All-American by Super Prep Magazine.
As he was mulling his college choices, McNair was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 35th round of the 1991 draft.
However, his love of football led him to focus on the gridiron and where he would play college ball.
The University of Florida offered him an opportunity to play running back.
McNair knew he could succeed as a quarterback, but that would mean playing in a lower college division.
If he had chosen to play running back or defensive back, McNair would have become a Division I athlete.
However, he knew he could play quarterback and excel if given the opportunity.
That is precisely what Alcorn State (FCS) gave him.
The school in Lorman, Mississippi offered him every opportunity to succeed and McNair did just that.
It didn’t take long for the Alcorn State coaches to see McNair’s quarterback abilities.
He started as a freshman in 1991 and completed 55.9% of his passes for 2,895 yards and 24 touchdowns.
He also rushed the ball 57 times for 242 yards.
In 1992, McNair began making a name for himself.
That season he threw for 3,541 yards and 29 scores and ran for an additional 516 yards.
The Braves finished the ‘92 season 7-4 and included a memorable victory over rival Grambling.
Trailing late in the fourth quarter, McNair came in to help the team pull out a victory.
He had been injured, but could not stand by knowing he could help his team.
Entering the game, McNair drove the Braves down field and into Tigers territory.
Though his leg was injured, McNair took the ball on a quarterback keeper and dove into the end zone for the winning score.
Their improbable victory helped Alcorn State make the playoffs.
However, they were quickly dispatched by Northeast Louisiana 78-27.
1993 saw another good year by McNair and Alcorn State.
That season he threw for 3,197 yards, 22 touchdowns, and ran for 633 yards.
The Braves improved from 1992 by finishing 8-3. By now, “Air” McNair was becoming a legend in college football.
He was the subject of numerous highlights on late-night Saturday sports broadcasts and well-known players in other college divisions knew who McNair was.
“You hear about somebody and you go, ‘Oh, well, he can’t be that good. You’ve gotta wait and see.’ And he was that good,” said Michael Strahan who played at Texas Southern. “He was like a linebacker playing quarterback.”
Shortly into his senior season, McNair appeared on the cover of the September 26, 1994 issue of Sports Illustrated.
The cover read, “Hand Him the Heisman.”
By the end of the ‘94 season, he nearly was handed college football’s highest honor.
#FBF 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈Alcorn State University QB Steve McNair gracing the covers of Sports Illustrated in the September 1994 🏈🏈🏈🏈🏈#stevemcnair #alcornstate #alcornstatefootball #sportsillustrated #heismantrophy #blackcollegefootball #hbcufootball pic.twitter.com/PAoBSaq1gR
— BlkCollegeNat'lChamp (@blackcollegenc) January 26, 2018
That year, McNair put up video game-like numbers.
He combined for 6,281 yards including 5,377 yards passing and 56 combined touchdowns.
Along the way, McNair broke many college football records and was named a college All-American.
Although the Braves were blown out by Jim Tressel and Youngstown State in the first round of the I-AA playoffs, college and NFL personnel were sold.
After winning the Walter Payton Award as I-AA’s best player, McNair was a Heisman finalist.
In the lead up to the trophy presentation, many naysayers believed McNair was only as talented as he seemed due to the low level of competition at Alcorn State.
Those notions were shot down by a number of people.
“All you gotta do is watch him play,” said University of Miami’s Warren Sapp at the time. “Down at Miami, we watched him every chance we got. We were his biggest fans. We couldn’t believe some of the things he did against defenses that were designed specifically to stop him. We all sat around and watched him Thanksgiving weekend. The guy was hurt so bad, he couldn’t hardly walk and he was still out there flinging it. What an arm! Tell you what, you put him behind our line and let him throw to our receivers at Miami. Then you’ll really see something. We’d sure take him at Miami.”
“He’d be the best player on [final #3] Colorado’s team or [final #1] Nebraska’s team, too” said Auburn assistant coach Larry Blakeney, who also coached Bo Jackson. “He’d be the best player on any team in Division I-A … He can do more to beat you with his abilities than anyone else I’ve ever seen. That includes Bo.”
McNair eventually ended in the third spot in the Heisman presentation.
Winner Rashaan Salaam from Colorado won the award after rushing for over 2,000 yards in ‘94.
Ki-Jana Carter of Penn State finished ahead of McNair after racking up 1,539 yards rushing.
Gone 11 years ago today, Steve McNair had one of the best college football seasons ever in his final year at Alcorn State.
McNair was a Heisman Trophy finalist that year. pic.twitter.com/f7fzGLCK39
— ESPN College Football (@ESPNCFB) July 4, 2020
The 1995 NFL Draft
As the 1995 NFL Draft approached, numerous draft gurus tried to predict where McNair would wind up.
The knock against him continued to be his small-school competition.
Some scouts also believed that McNair did not have the mental capacity to make it in the pros.
“They frowned upon Jerry Rice, because they said he caught all of those passes courtesy of an “unstructured” system at Mississippi Valley State,” said Terrence Moore, longtime sports writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “They laughed at Walter Payton, a former star at Jackson State, because they said Payton was a former star at Jackson State.”
However, more than enough pro personnel were in McNair’s corner and believed that he would become an excellent pro quarterback.
“This kid will be better than Steve Young, and he’ll redefine the quarterback position,” said then Houston Oilers scout Glenn Cumbee. “He can show every pass that’s imaginable. I don’t know where this (dumb) tag came from, but we put him through extensive classroom work, and he’s one of the most intelligent players I’ve seen. He’s one of the few guys I would actually pay to watch as a fan.”
Mel Kiper Jr., longtime NFL Draft prognosticator, believed McNair would be a high-level pro, if he had a few seasons to learn from the sidelines.
The day before the draft, Kiper believed that Penn State’s Kerry Collins would be selected ahead of McNair due to the latter’s “low- key approach and quiet demeanor.”
On draft day, the Cincinnati Bengals were the first team to pick and selected Carter from Penn State.
Then, the expansion Jacksonville Jaguars took USC tackle Tony Boselli.
There was speculation that the second expansion team of 1995, the Carolina Panthers would take McNair.
However, Bill Polian, Carolina’s GM, dismissed the notion.
“He’s (McNair) a great athlete with terrific arm strength and the ability to avoid (pass rushers) in the pocket,” Polian told The Journal News prior to the draft. “The only real downside is that he’s played at a low level of competition and he’s making a huge jump to the NFL in the premier position. The one thing you don’t know is how he’ll handle the sophisticated, faster-by-a-lot-defenses in the NFL.”
Polian’s assessment of McNair didn’t matter in the long run.
The Panthers had traded out of the top spot with Cincinnati and Houston was picking at number three.
With that pick, the Houston Oilers selected McNair.
The Panthers would select Collins two picks later.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) April 22, 2019
“They had the guts to pull the trigger,” exclaimed ESPN’s Chris Berman. “I don’t care who he’s playing against, Joe (Theismann, who was covering the draft alongside Berman)— that’s unbelievable.”
Theismann then made his assessment of McNair.
“He is raw around the edges, I’ll give you that,” Theisman said looking into the ESPN cameras. “Maybe that comes out of the competition in the Division II (Alcorn State is actually Division I-AA) schools where it isn’t like it would be in Division I. He’s just too darn talented to pass up. He’s the kind of guy you have to have. You’re investing some money in a young man, but he’s certainly the kind of guy you’re willing to spend some time on. Because he is, and could well be, your franchise quarterback.”
After the draft, Oilers owner Bud Adams made a proclamation to the entire world.
“I think Steve McNair is going to surprise all of you out there,” Adams said. “I think everyone says he’s going to need to take his time, but I think this guy is going to step in there and be a starting quarterback quicker than most people think.”
Adams was partially correct. McNair would eventually surprise many doubters.
However, he did stay mainly tied to the bench his first two seasons of 1995 and 1996.
Sitting behind veteran Chris Chandler, McNair saw action in only 13 total games.
This included starting six games when Chandler was injured.
In his first two years, McNair threw for over 1,700 yards, nine touchdowns and five picks.
Before the 1997 season began, the Oilers closed up shop and moved to Tennessee to become the Tennessee Titans.
The team also moved on from Chandler and inserted McNair as the starter.
During the ‘97 season, McNair put up 2,665 yards, 14 touchdowns, and 13 picks.
He was also sacked 31 times.
McNair’s passing yardage was the most since 1993 when Warren Moon was the signal caller.
Although he threw 13 interceptions, that was the lowest amount by an Oiler quarterback in franchise history.
McNair was second in team rushing in ‘97, finishing with 674 yards and eight touchdowns.
McNair’s numbers improved in 1998. That year he passed for 3,228 yards, 15 touchdowns and 10 INTs.
McNair set career highs that season with 492 passing attempts (which he would tie in 2002) and 289 completions.
For the second year in a row, the Oilers finished the season 8-8. Things would change drastically in 1999.
1999 and the Super Bowl
As the 1999 season dawned, the Oilers were rechristened “The Titans.”
That name was apt as Tennessee was about to have a titanic season.
After McNair was drafted in 1995, the Titans front office was masterful in putting pieces around him.
In 1996, running back Eddie George was drafted in the first round.
In 1997 and 1998 respectively, receivers Derrick Mason and Kevin Dyson were drafted by the team.
These players meshed perfectly with longtime standouts Bruce Matthews, Brad Hopkins, and Frank Wycheck.
“When I got to the team, Eddie George was the man. They were still trying to phase Mac in. That’s when they used to take their time with quarterbacks,” said former Oilers/Titans receiver Kevin Dyson. “When we got on that Super Bowl run, it was Eddie’s team with a dose of Mac. Then Mac just kinda balanced the pendulum and it became his team as well. We relied on him.”
In 1999, the Titans shot out of the gate.
By the time they reached their bye in Week Seven, they were 5-1.
After the bye, they went 8-2.
Their 13-3 overall record placed them 2nd in the AFC Central Division.
The team’s first playoff game since 1993 pitted them against the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Wild Card game.
At halftime, the Titans led 12-0.
However, with only 16 seconds left in the game, Tennessee found themselves in a 16-15 hole after the Bills Steve Christie kicked a 41 yard field goal.
With the Tennessee faithful dejected and watching the last few seconds of the Titans season, insanity ensued.
The Bills kicked off and the Titans Lorenzo Neal picked up the ball at the Tennessee 25 yard line.
Neal then handed off to Wycheck who took the ball and ran to the right side of the field.
As Wycheck was about to be tackled, he threw the ball to the opposite side of the field into the waiting arms of Dyson.
Dyson then took the pass and ran 75 yards into the end zone.
The crowd was both stunned and euphoric.
There was a delay in the game while the officials reviewed the play to make sure Wycheck’s pass was not a forward lateral.
After several tense minutes, referee Phil Luckett determined that the pass was a legal backwards lateral.
The play stood and the “Music City Miracle” saved the Titans season with an improbable 22-16 win.
On this day in 2000, Kevin Dyson returned a lateral on a kickoff for a touchdown to win. The "Music City Miracle." pic.twitter.com/CGr4UaVo9r
— Sports Anniversaries (@SportsAnnys) January 8, 2016
“We worked on that play yesterday”, said Titans coach Jeff Fisher of the winning return. “The play is called Home Run Throwback, it’s a play you usually work on Saturdays, the day before a game. That play was designed with Frank Wycheck in the middle to try and put the ball out laterally.”
Next up for Tennessee was the Indianapolis Colts and quarterback Peyton Manning.
The Colts had also finished the year 13-3 and looked to be a formidable team.
However, the game came down to a battle of field goals (with the exception of a rushing touchdown each for George and Manning) and Tennessee advanced 19-16.
In the AFC Championship game, the Titans faced division rival Jacksonville who had finished first in the AFC Central that year with a 14-2 record.
At halftime, the Jags led 14-10.
However, the second half was a different story as McNair paced the Titans with two rushing touchdowns and a 33-14 blowout win.
Next, it was on to Super Bowl XXXIV to face the “Greatest Show on Turf” and the St. Louis Rams.
St. Louis had finished 13-3 in 1999 and boasted a high flying offense featuring quarterback Kurt Warner, running back Marshall Faulk, receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt and stalwart linemen Orlando Pace and Adam Timmerman.
For a good portion of the game, the Titans looked like they were in over their heads.
At the half, the Rams led 9-0.
By the end of the third quarter, St. Louis led 16-6.
However, as they say, that’s why you play the game.
In the final quarter, McNair calmly led his team down the field and George capped a 13 play, 79-yard drive with a two-yard touchdown run.
After a Rams three-and-out, the Titans went on another scoring drive and tied the game with an Al Del Greco 43 yard field goal.
On the ensuing Rams possession, Warner connected with Bruce for a huge 73 yard touchdown pass to re-take the lead 23-16.
Backed up to their own 12 yard line, the Titans had 1:48 to get the ball into the opposite end zone.
McNair made a few quick throws and St. Louis’ Dre Bly committed a 15 yard facemask penalty.
A few plays later, Bly nearly ended the game when he stepped in front of a McNair pass and watched a sure pick fly through his arms.
Two plays later, McNair was nearly sacked but escaped and threw a dart to Dyson to bring up a 1st and 10 at the Rams 10 yard line.
With only six seconds remaining, McNair dropped back and hit Dyson again at the five yard line.
For a brief moment, Dyson looked like he would tie the game.
Suddenly, St. Louis linebacker Mike Jones pivoted and grabbed Dyson around the legs, squeezing with all his might.
Dyson tried to use his forward momentum to reach the ball over the end zone.
However, it was not meant to be as Dyson’s stretch was a few inches short.
“Honestly, we didn’t even talk about it,” Dyson said in retrospect. “It was just the elephant in the room. We just never dwelled on it. We were just in shock that we didn’t get it done.”
The play would later be called “The Tackle” and made Jones a brief super star.
For the game, McNair was 22 of 36 for 214 yards, zero touchdowns and no picks.
He also added eight rushes for 64 yards.
2000 & 2001
The following year, the Titans equalled their 1999 record and finished 13-3.
McNair passed for 2,847 yards, 15 touchdowns, 13 picks, and ran for 403 yards.
After six years in the league, he made his first Pro Bowl after the season.
The Titans met the Ravens in the Divisional playoffs and both teams were locked in a 10-10 tie after three quarters.
Unfortunately, Baltimore scored 14 unanswered points in the final stanza to advance and end Tennessee’s season.
In 2001, McNair had his best year as a pro (at that point). He passed for 3,350 yards, 21 scores and 12 INTs.
In addition, he had a quarterback rating of 90.2, 414 yards rushing, and tied George in rushing touchdowns with five.
The team as a whole took a step back in ‘01, finishing the year at 7-9.
2002 & 2003
Tennessee was back on track in 2002 and McNair was the main reason why.
After throwing for 3,387 yards (which would prove to be his highest career total), 22 scores and 15 picks, the Titans ended the year 11-5.
In their first round playoff match with the Steelers, McNair threw for 338 yards (a career postseason high) along with two touchdowns and two interceptions.
The back-and-forth game was finally decided in overtime when Tennessee’s Joe Nedney kicked a 26 yarder to win 34-31.
One week later, the Raiders ended the Titans season with a 41-24 blowout.
Before the ‘03 season began, McNair made the news for the wrong reason.
Just after midnight on May 23, 2003, McNair was pulled over when a police officer noticed his vehicle weaving back and forth down a street.
McNair was pulled over and the officer could smell alcohol on McNair.
He was given a field sobriety test and failed with a 0.18.
Tennessee’s legal limit is 0.10.
In addition, a 9MM handgun was found in McNair’s front console.
He did have a permit for the weapon, but Tennessee law prohibits an intoxicated person from carrying a loaded weapon.
After being arrested for drunken driving and illegal possession of a handgun, McNair was released after paying a $3,000 bond.
In 2003, McNair had his third consecutive season passing for over 3,000 yards.
His 3,215 yards, 24 touchdown, seven interception season translated to a league-best quarterback rating of 100.4.
After the season, McNair was voted to his second Pro Bowl and he was named Co-MVP of the league along with Manning.
Always remember Steve McNair/@EddieGeorge2727 era of the Tennessee Titans fondly. That period 1999-2003 was the Titans first five years they won 56 games making postseason 4 times winning 5 games,going to 2 AFC title games/1 Super Bowl,NFL best record in 2000 had NFL MVP 2003. pic.twitter.com/GT6Y1u9nMS
— 🏈TitansFanatic🏈 (@titanfan8) January 30, 2019
After the team ended the year 12-4, they met the Ravens in the Wild Card game.
McNair passed for one touchdown in the game and the Titans advanced with a 20-17 victory.
The following week, McNair and Tennessee played well, but their season ended at the hands of the Patriots 17-14.
2004 & 2005
In 2004, McNair struggled with injuries and started only eight games.
He ended the year with 1,343 yards, eight touchdowns, nine picks, and 128 rushing yards.
The Titans regressed to 5-11, their worst record since moving to Tennessee.
The following year was even worse for the team.
The Titans finished 4-12 and McNair again struggled with injuries.
However, he played well enough to get a third Pro Bowl nod after throwing for 3,161 yards, 16 touchdowns, 11 INTs, and rushing for 139 yards for another score.
After the season, the Tennessee front office examined their belief in McNair staying healthy for the long run.
Injuries had cut into his playing time the past few years and the Titans believed this was a sign McNair was on the downward side of his career.
The team made the bold move of locking McNair out of team facilities in early 2006.
This was done out of fear that McNair would injure himself while training and the team would be forced to pay him $23.46 million while he was injured.
The NFL Players Association filed a grievance on McNair’s behalf.
An independent arbitrator then ruled that the Titans had violated its contract with McNair and this ruling opened the possibility of a trade.
Trade to the Ravens
Watching this scene play out from afar was the Baltimore Ravens.
After negotiating back-and-forth, the two teams made a deal on June 7, 2006.
In exchange for McNair, the Titans would receive the Ravens 4th Round pick in the 2007 draft.
McNair passed his physical and became a new member of the Ravens.
In the 2006 season, McNair showed why he was still one of the best quarterbacks in the game.
He passed for 3,050 yards, 16 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
He also rushed for 119 yards and one score.
In Week 14 against the Chiefs, McNair threw the longest regular-season touchdown pass in team history when he connected with Mark Clayton for 89 yards.
— AJ Pip (@AJPip52) July 4, 2013
The Ravens played well under McNair’s leadership and finished the season 13-3.
In the Divisional Playoff game, Baltimore squared off against the Colts.
McNair threw for 173 yards, zero touchdowns and two picks.
The Ravens season ended with a 15-6 loss.
On May 9, 2007, McNair found himself in hot water again.
He was a passenger in a vehicle that was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving.
Even though he was not driving, McNair and the driver (his brother-in-law) were arrested for driving under the influence.
It is Tennessee law that a person can be arrested for a DUI if that person owns the vehicle in question and the driver (even if it is not the owner) is believed to be under the influence of alcohol.
Since McNair owned the vehicle in question, he was arrested with DUI by consent.
The charges were dropped two months later.
2007 and Retirement
By 2007, the years of constant pounding had taken its toll.
McNair missed nine games of the season mainly due to injury.
He started only six games in ‘07 and passed for 1,113 yards, two touchdowns and four INTs.
The Ravens dropped to 5-11 and McNair decided he would call it a career.
On April 17, 2008, he officially retired from the game.
He was 35 years old.
“It was a hard decision, but I think it’s a good decision,” McNair said at the time. “I’m always a team player first. Mentally, I could go out there and play. But physically, I just couldn’t do it anymore – not to the capacity that I need to help my teammates win a football game.”
“It’s been a long road, but I’ve been fortunate to surround myself with great people, great coaches, great teammates and great family,” said McNair. “My career speaks for itself. I can reflect back on it and not change a thing. I played the game with a lot of passion and a lot of heart, and it showed over the course of my 13 years.”
McNair retired with 31,304 yards passing, 174 touchdown passes, 119 interceptions, 82.8 overall passer rating, 3,590 rushing yards, and 37 rushing touchdowns.
He was a three-time Pro Bowler, NFL MVP (2003), NFL leader in passer rating (2003), and would eventually have his number 9 retired by the Titans along with being named to the Titans Ring of Honor.
In retirement, McNair got to work trying to help others.
He opened a restaurant called Gridiron9 near the campus of Tennessee State to give those students an affordable place to eat.
“He established his business in the heart of the black community over at TSU to have a strong and powerful impact,” former teammate George said.
“He did as much as he possibly could to help the community,” Mason said.
McNair also established the Steve McNair Foundation to benefit youth charities and hosted youth football camps for years.
“When Steve started holding his camps, nobody else was doing a whole lot of them,” said Mitchell Williams, a Mississippi sports anchor who was close to McNair. “He helped start that trend. Touchable. Just so touchable and approachable and always spending time with those campers,” Williams said. “A generation of young people came to Steve’s camps.”
That generosity of spirit made what happened next so unexpected.
On July 4, 2009, Wayne Neely, a friend of McNair’s who shared a condo in downtown Nashville with the ex-quarterback, entered a grisly scene.
As Neely entered the condo, he saw McNair slumped over on a couch and unresponsive.
Neely then called his friend Robert Gaddy who called the police.
“When I walked in I knew it immediately (something was wrong),” Gaddy said at the time. “I didn’t have to touch him and I called 911 and told them they needed to get there and I was holding my breath and hoping it wasn’t true. I didn’t want to touch him but I saw blood on my best friend and I was almost panicking myself. It looked like he was gone and I didn’t want to believe it.”
The scene that unfolded before friends and authorities was gruesome.
Lying next to McNair on the couch was the body of Sahel “Jenni” Kazemi.
Authorities found out not long after the deaths that Kazemi had been a mistress of McNair.
He had been married to wife Mechelle since 1997 and the news of a mistress was shocking to many.
Over the next few days, the public would learn that the condo served as a ‘bachelor pad’ where McNair would bring women.
Kazemi wasn’t the only McNair mistress.
A woman by the name of Leah Ignagni was also romantically involved with McNair at the same time he was seeing Kazemi.
According to police, Kazemi found out about the affair and confronted McNair.
— Lamond Murray (@realrun73) July 3, 2018
Cell phone records showed that McNair had been communicating with multiple women for quite some time.
Text messages between McNair and Kazemi showed that McNair gave Kazemi $2,000 to help with bills.
Ever since McNair met Kazemi at her job in a Nashville Dave & Busters restaurant, Kazemi was obsessed with McNair, police said.
Investigators found that Kazemi had spotted Ignagni coming out of McNair’s condo in late June of that year and followed Ignagni.
Kazemi became despondent over the fact that McNair was seeing other women.
“I think clearly this relationship and this part of his lifestyle – not only being married but I guess the process of maybe getting a divorce and having affairs with different women and apparently over just these few days … out nightclubbing a lot, drinking and partying and out late and all of this sort of thing – those variables are where you would look (in tracing his downfall),” said retired FBI agent Gregg McCrary.
“I’m pretty sure that (McNair) was dealing with some things that we don’t know about,” his teammate George said. “When you transition from the game – mentally and physically and emotionally transition – you go through so much change. Just imagine going from what you do every day and all of a sudden you’re forced into doing something different. He was probably searching for something. Things in the wrong places.”
On July 3, 2009, Kazemi sent McNair a text that read, “Baby, I might have a break down I’m so stressed.”
McNair responded that he would check on her later that day after spending time with his family.
Around 11 PM on the night of the 3rd, McNair texted Kazemi, “On my way.”
The following day, the police responded to Gaddy’s 911 call and found McNair had been shot twice in his torso and twice in his head.
Kazemi had then sat next to McNair’s body, put the gun to her temple and pulled the trigger.
A 9MM handgun was found near Kazemi’s body and police discovered, “trace evidence of (gunpowder) residue on her left hand.”
Once the details of the murder/suicide had been cleared, the Titans held a two day memorial for McNair’s family and fans on July 8 and 9, 2009.
During the 2009 season, the Titans wore a “9” sticker on the back of their helmets to honor McNair.
— NFL Day (@_NFLDay) February 11, 2018
Even after overcoming long odds to become an NFL superstar, some people in and out of the NFL are not quite sure how to view McNair after the revelations surrounding his death.
However, George is not one to dwell on the negative.
“Would’ve loved to see what he could’ve blossomed into as a businessman, as a philanthropist, as a man of God,” George said. “And I choose to focus on the good times, the great memories.”