We were all shocked and saddened this past Saturday by the news of the shooting death of Mississippi native Steve McNair. The Mt. Olive native earned the nick name "Air McNair" by dazzling football fans as an outstanding High School Quarterback right here in the Pine Belt. He went on to captivate an even larger fan base with his stellar performance at Alcorn State. Then he spent 13 years as a national star in the NFL where he started with the then Houston Oilers who became the Tennessee Titans.
During those 13 years he lead the Titans to a Super Bowl, was a 4-time Pro-Bowler, and shared an NFL MVP title with another quarterback with Mississippi ties-Peyton Manning-in 2003. He was traded to Baltimore his last year, but considered Nashville his second home after Mississippi.
Steve McNair was not only an outstanding football player...but an outstanding human being as well. His work for his home state after Hurricane Katrina, his work with young people, and his charitable foundation are just a few examples of his generous and compassionate nature and drive to give back.
He came from humble beginnings and one of the first things he did after turning pro was to build his mother a new house in Mt. Olive. Those who knew him best talk about what a quality individual he was.
Yes-there is controversy surrounding his tragic death. There has been and will be plenty of news on that. However, that is not the focus of this commentary. We choose to remember the Steve McNair that was a super star and winner in so many ways both on and off the field. A soft-spoken and humble man that Mississippi can be proud to call one of its sons.