The article is a good read, if anything to see just how much "black quarterback" was part of the conversation only 15 years ago, or for lighter gems like:
"He's on the same level as the best quarterbacks I've seen since I've been scouting," says Dwight Adams, director of player personnel for the Buffalo Bills. "Testaverde, Bledsoe, Shuler, Mirer, Dilfer.McNair's retirement dates me as a sports fan. He came into the league when I was in grade school, the formative years as far as fandom is concerned. To put it in perspective: he was the last high draft pick QB to start his career with the now-archaic two year bench apprenticeship without much of a fuss being made over it. To compare, consider how much talk their was about Vince Young sitting behind Billy Volek, or Carson Palmer behind Kitna.
He never threw for 3,500 yds or 25 TDs in a season but neither did Troy Aikman. To go by his numbers and say he wasn't among the elite QBs of his generation would be myopic. Jeff Fisher told him to hand it off, and so he did. He made those Titan teams go and his 2003 MVP was well-deserved. What would his numbers look like if he had a true number one receiver? (No, Derrick Mason does not count).
He patented the Red Zone QB draw and was part of a memorable rivalry with the Ravens. An organic rivalry to boot - two teams with no history, simply playing hard against each other each time out.
He said he couldn't do it physically anymore, and that's not surprising. He leaves behind an archive of injury reports and a legacy as one of the toughest players to ever play. Some relevant Steve Young commentary, circa 2003 playoffs, via Simmons:
Someone mentioned how McNair finally started limping on that final drive, how that may have derailed the Titans more than anything. So Steve Young casually mentions, "I think the painkillers started wearing off -- they usually don't last for the whole game."That was McNair in the 17-14 Divisonal loss to the Pats, playing with a torn calf.
If it's not the barrage of injuries, the prevailing memory will certainly be, "one yard short." Naturally, his unbelievable scramble-and-pass (1:55 mark) on the prior play has been forgotten.
He was a fun player to grow up with. And that's coming from a Jags fan.