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Steve McNair

McNair as a member of the Ravens
No. 9     
Personal information
Date of birth: February 14, 1973(1973-02-14)
Place of birth: Mount Olive, Mississippi
Date of death: July 4, 2009 (aged 36)
Place of death: Nashville, Tennessee
Career information
College: Alcorn State
NFL Draft: 1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
Debuted in 1995 for the Houston Oilers
Last played in 2007 for the Baltimore Ravens
Career history
 As player:
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics as of 2007
Pass attempts     4,544
Pass completions     2,733
Percentage     60.1
TD-INT     174-119
Passing yards     31,304
QB Rating     82.8
Stats at

Steve LaTreal McNair (February 14, 1973 – July 4, 2009)[1] (Nicknamed Air McNair)[2][3] was an American football quarterback who spent the majority of his NFL career with the Tennessee Titans.[4]

McNair played college football at Alcorn State in Lorman, Mississippi, where he won the 1994 Walter Payton Award as the top player in NCAA Division I-AA. He was drafted third overall by the NFL's Houston Oilers in 1995, becoming the Oilers' regular starting quarterback in 1997, their first season in Tennessee (though he started six games over the prior two seasons in Houston), and remained the starting quarterback for the Titans through 2005. After the 2005 season, McNair was traded to the Baltimore Ravens, with whom he played for two seasons before retiring after thirteen NFL seasons.[5]

McNair led the Titans to the playoffs four times, and the Ravens once, and played in Super Bowl XXXIV with the Titans. He is the Titans' all-time leading passer. McNair was selected to the Pro Bowl three times, was All-Pro and Co-MVP in 2003, all as a Titan.[6]

McNair was the victim of homicide on July 4, 2009, from gunshot wounds inflicted by Sahel Kazemi, his mistress, who then turned the gun on herself.


Early life

McNair was born in Mount Olive, Mississippi, and attended Mount Olive High School as a freshman in the fall of 1987, where he played football, baseball, and basketball in addition to running track. As a junior, McNair led Mount Olive to the state championship. McNair also played free safety in high school, and in 1990 alone, he intercepted fifteen passes, raising his career total to 30, which tied the mark established by Terrell Buckley at Pascagoula High School.[7] An All-State selection, McNair was named an All-American by Super Prep magazine.[7]

The Seattle Mariners drafted him in the 35th round of the 1991 MLB amateur draft.[8]

College career

McNair was initially offered a full scholarship to the University of Florida to play defensive end but wanting to play quarterback McNair chose division I-AA Alcorn State. McNair played college football for Alcorn State University, a historically black university which competes in the NCAA's Division I-AA (now known as the Football Championship Subdivision) Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). In 1992, McNair threw for 3,541 yards and 29 touchdowns, and ran in for 10 more scores. The Braves fashioned a record of 7–4, including a last-second victory in their rematch with Grambling. In that contest, McNair returned from an injury and helped Alcorn State, trailing late in the final period, move deep into Tigers' territory. Then, despite a leg injury, he tucked the ball under his arm and dove into the end zone for the winning touchdown. The victory over Grambling helped the Braves qualify for the I-AA playoffs. McNair helped Alcorn State to another good year in 1993, as the Braves upped their record to 8–3 while McNair threw for more than 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns. He was also named First-Team All-SWAC for the third year in a row.

In his senior season, McNair gained nearly 6,000 yards rushing and passing, along with 53 touchdowns. In the process, he surpassed more than a dozen records and was named an All-American. In addition, McNair won the Walter Payton Award as the top I-AA player and finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting behind Rashaan Salaam and Ki-Jana Carter. McNair set career records for the Football Championship Series with 14,496 passing yards, as well as the division record for total offensive yards with 16,283 career yards.[5] The records still stand.[5]

He was a member of the fraternity Omega Psi Phi, highlighting his allegiance by tattooing “Omega Man” on his arm.[7]

Professional career

Houston Oilers

With the third pick in the 1995 NFL Draft, the Oilers and new head coach Jeff Fisher selected McNair, who signed a seven-year contract. McNair did not see his first action until the last two series of the fourth quarter in a November game versus the Cleveland Browns. Late in the season, he also appeared briefly against the Detroit Lions and New York Jets. Meanwhile, starting quarterback Chris Chandler finished as the AFC's fourth-best passer. In 1996, McNair remained a backup to Chandler until starting a game in December against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Tennessee Oilers/Titans

McNair's first season as the Oilers' starter in 1997 (the team's first year in Tennessee) resulted in an 8–8 record for the team, which played its home games at the Liberty Bowl in Memphis, Tennessee. McNair's 2,665 passing yards were the most for the Oilers since Warren Moon in 1993, and his 13 interceptions were the fewest for a single season in franchise history. He also led the team in rushing touchdowns with eight and ranked second behind running back Eddie George with 674 yards on the ground, the third-highest total for a quarterback in NFL history.

In 1998, McNair set career passing highs with 492 attempts, 289 completions, 3,228 yards and 15 touchdowns for the Oilers, now competing in Nashville. He also cut his interceptions to ten, helping his quarterback rating climb to 80.1.

The Oilers officially changed their name to Tennesee Titans for the 1999 season as they debuted a new stadium, Adelphia Coliseum. Early in the 1999 season, McNair was diagnosed with an inflamed disk following Tennessee's 36–35 win over the Cincinnati Bengals, and needed surgery. In his stead entered Neil O'Donnell, a veteran who had guided the Pittsburgh Steelers to the Super Bowl four years earlier. Over the next five games, O'Donnell led the Titans to a 4–1 record. McNair returned against the St. Louis Rams, and with McNair starting, Tennessee won seven of its last nine games, good for a record of 13–3 and second place in the AFC Central.

Tennessee opened the playoffs at home against the Buffalo Bills in a Wild Card game, winning on the "Music City Miracle" and eventually advancing to Super Bowl XXXIV in a re-match with the Rams. On the final play of the game, a McNair pass to Kevin Dyson was complete, but Dyson was unable to break the plane of the goal line, giving the Rams the win. McNair signed a new six-year contract after the season worth $47 million.[9]

Following a 13–3 season in 2000 that ended in a playoff loss to the Baltimore Ravens, the 28-year-old McNair put together his most productive year as a pro. McNair registered career passing highs in yards (3,350), completions (264), touchdowns (21) and quarterback rating (90.2). He was also the team's most effective rusher, tying George for the club lead with five scores. Named to the Pro Bowl for the first time, McNair sat out the game due to a shoulder injury.[10]

In 2002, Tennessee finished the regular season 11-5 and reached the playoffs. In the divisional playoff contest against the Pittsburgh Steelers, McNair threw for a career postseason high 338 yards and two touchdowns, with two interceptions, while rushing for 29 yards and another score on the ground. The game had a controversial finish when, after missing a game winning field goal at the end of regulation time and a second failed kick in overtime was negated because of a controversial running-into-the-kicker penalty on Pittsburgh's Dewayne Washington, kicker Joe Nedney won the game from 26 yards out 2:15 into overtime. Steelers coach Bill Cowher said that he called a timeout before the winning kick took place. McNair and the Titans reached the AFC Championship game but were unable to reach the Super Bowl, losing to the Oakland Raiders 41-24.

After this loss in 2002, McNair was arrested for DUI and illegal gun possession in May 2003. His blood alcohol was above 0.10, and a 9-mm handgun had been sitting in the front of the car.[11] All charges related to the incident were later dropped.[5]

In December of the 2003 season, an injured calf and ankle kept McNair on the sidelines for two games, though he still finished with the best numbers of his career, including 24 touchdown passes and a quarterback rating of 100.4. The Titans ended at 12–4, the same record as the Colts, but Indianapolis took the AFC South by virtue of its two victories over Tennessee. McNair and Colts quarterback Peyton Manning were named co-NFL MVPs following the season, which ended in a playoff loss to the New England Patriots for the Titans.

McNair missed the 2004 season's fourth game with a bruised sternum, an injury suffered the previous week against Jacksonville,[12] and played in only five more games that season.

Baltimore Ravens

McNair seen being tackled during an October 2006 game against the San Diego Chargers.

Following the 2005 season, on April 30, 2006, the Titans allowed McNair and his agent, Bus Cook, to speak with the Ravens to try to work out a deal.[13] On May 1, 2006, the Baltimore Sun reported that the Baltimore Ravens might wait for McNair to be released by the Titans during free agency.[citation needed] Speculation was that the Titans might hold onto McNair until the week before training camp in late July if the Ravens didn't come up with a satisfactory trade offer for McNair according to a league source.[14] However, on June 7, 2006, the two teams worked out a deal to send McNair to the Ravens for a 4th-round pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. On June 8, McNair flew to Baltimore, passed a physical, and was announced as the newest member of the Ravens.[13]

The 2006 season saw McNair start each game for the Ravens, missing only portions of two games. In the week 14 game against the Kansas City Chiefs, McNair threw the longest touchdown pass in the Ravens' history, when he threw an 89 yard touchdown pass to receiver Mark Clayton[15], McNair helped Baltimore to a 13–3 record and an AFC North Championship. McNair started at quarterback in his first playoff game as a Raven when his team faced the Colts on January 13, 2007. McNair was 18 of 29 for 173 yards with no touchdowns and two interceptions, as the Ravens lost 15–6.

On May 9, 2007 McNair was a passenger in a car that was pulled over for suspicion of drunk driving. Both the driver of the vehicle, his brother-in-law, and McNair were arrested for driving under the influence. Under Tennessee law, one can still be arrested for DUI even if a passenger in one's own car and the driver is believed to be under the influence. McNair owned the pick-up truck involved and was charged with DUI by consent.[16] The charges were dropped on July 10, 2007.[17]

In 2007, McNair did not play in Week 2 against the Jets which the Ravens won 20–13. He also did not play the full game in Week 3, however, the game was won by the Ravens, 26–23. McNair missed nine more games during the rest of the season, including getting pulled after taking many hits from Steelers' linebacker James Harrison in Week 9, and fumbling the ball twice. McNair only started six games for the Ravens in 2007.

After thirteen seasons in the NFL, McNair announced his retirement in April 2008.[18]

Personal life

McNair married Mechelle[19] on June 21, 1997. He split his time between a farm in Mississippi and Nashville, Tennessee.[5]

McNair had four sons by three different women. Cotina Feazell is the mother of Steve LaTreal McNair, Jr., who is a senior and star wide receiver at Oak Grove High in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Sheila McNair (no marital relationship to Steve McNair) is the mother of his second son, Steven O'Brian Koran McNair, 15, who lives in Magee, Mississippi. Mechelle McNair (Steve McNair's widow) is the mother of his two younger sons, Tyler, 11, and Trenton, 6.[20]

McNair opened his own restaurant in Nashville, which he named Gridiron9.[21]. In addition to that Steve McNair was the mentor to current Titan's quaterback Vince Young, who was greatly affected by the death of his teacher.


On July 4, 2009, McNair was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds, along with the body of a young woman named Sahel Kazemi, in a condominium rented by McNair, at 105 Lea Avenue in downtown Nashville.[22] McNair had been shot twice in the body and twice in the head, with only one of the shots coming from closer than three feet.[23][24][25] Kazemi had a single gunshot wound to the head, which was proved to have been fired from a gun that was held to her temple. McNair was believed to have been asleep on the couch when the shooting occurred. The bodies were discovered by McNair's friends Wayne Neely and Robert Gaddy, who called 911.[26] The Nashville police declared McNair's death a murder-suicide, with Kazemi as the perpetrator[27] and McNair as the victim.[28] The 9-mm gun used was found under Kazemi's body and later tests revealed "trace evidence of (gunpowder) residue on her left hand."[27] Kazemi had a worsening financial situation and also suspected that McNair was in another extramarital relationship.[29][30]

The married McNair had been dating the 20-year-old Kazemi in the months prior to their deaths.[31][32] Two days before their deaths, Kazemi was pulled over in a black 2007 Cadillac Escalade in Nashville with McNair in the passenger seat and Vent Gordon, a chef at a restaurant McNair owned, in the back seat. The vehicle was registered in the names of both McNair and Kazemi. She was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol.[22] McNair was not arrested, instead leaving in a taxi with Gordon, despite Kazemi repeatedly asking the arresting officer to tell McNair he could come to the police car to talk to her. However, McNair later bailed Kazemi out of jail.[33] On July 6, police stated that the gun found at the scene of the crime under Kazemi's body had been purchased by her after her release from jail on the DUI charge.[34] Kazemi purchased the gun from a convicted murderer she met while looking for a buyer for her Kia.[35]

Titans owner Bud Adams released a statement regarding McNair:[36]

We are saddened and shocked to hear the news of Steve McNair's passing today. He was one of the finest players to play for our organization and one of the most beloved players by our fans. He played with unquestioned heart and leadership and led us to places that we had never reached, including our only Super Bowl. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they deal with his untimely passing.

In a statement to the AP, Ozzie Newsome, executive vice president and general manager of the Baltimore Ravens, stated:[23][37]

This is so, so sad. We immediately think of his family, his boys. They are all in our thoughts and prayers. What we admired most about Steve when we played against him was his competitive spirit, and we were lucky enough to have that with us for two years. He is one of the best players in the NFL over the last 20 years...

The Titans held a two-day memorial at LP Field on July 8 and July 9, 2009, where fans could pay their last respects to McNair. Highlights from his career were played throughout each day and fans were able to sign books that were later given to the McNair family.

During the 2009 NFL season, every member of the Titans wore a commemorative "9" sticker placed on the back of each helmet to honor McNair. Funeral services were held for McNair at the Reed Coliseum on the campus of the University of Southern Mississippi on Saturday, July 11, 2009 at 11:00 AM (CST) and he is buried at Griffith Cemetery in Prentiss, Mississippi.


  1. ^ Steve McNair Found Dead. WTVF, 2009-07-04. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^ [2]
  4. ^ Steve McNair Stats, News, Photos. Retrieved 2009-07-08.
  5. ^ a b c d e Shooting Unveils Very Different Sides of Ex-NFL Quarterback Steve McNair. Fox News, 2009-07-06. Retrieved 2009-07-06.
  6. ^ McNair helped bring stability and success to vagabond franchise
  7. ^ a b c
  8. ^ . 
  9. ^ Notes: Favre backs McNair; Leinart hires Condon. USA Today, 2006-04-22. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  10. ^ The Steve McNair Foundation, Biography. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  11. ^ Judge: Officer didn't have 'sufficient basis' to stop McNair for DUI., 2004-07-22. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  12. ^ McNair hospitalized with bruised sternum. UPI, 2004-09-27. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  13. ^ a b Walker, Teresa M. McNair introduced as Ravens' new starting QB. USA Today, 2006-06-08. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  14. ^ Clayton, John. McNair could have playoff impact in Baltimore., 2006-05-24. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  15. ^ A Look Back at the Career of Steve McNair:Career Highlights, 2006 Baltimore
  16. ^ Hensley, Jamison (2007-05-10). "Ravens' McNair arrested on DUI charge". Baltimore Sun.,0,2911203.story?coll=bal-sports-headlines. 
  17. ^ Walker, Teresa, DUI charge against McNair dropped (July 10, 2007), Yahoo! Sports, Retrieved on July 10, 2007.
  18. ^ McNair Says Goodbye to Ravens, NFL
  19. ^ The Steve McNair Foundation, Biography
  20. ^
  21. ^ Humbles, Andy. McNair's new restaurant open. The Tennessean, 2009-06-22. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  22. ^ a b Kate Howard; Jaime Sarrio; Chris Echegaray (2009-07-04). "Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi killed". The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee). Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  23. ^ a b Former NFL quarterback McNair killed in Tennessee
  24. ^
  25. ^ Blake Farmer (2009-07-05). "Steve McNair Found Dead". WPLN-FM (Nashville, Tennessee: WPLN-FM). Retrieved 2009-07-05. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b Police Declare Murder-Suicide in Steve McNair case
  28. ^ Fleeman, Mike. Coroner: Steve McNair a Victim of Murder-Suicide People, July 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-08-01.
  29. ^
  30. ^ Nashville Police press release
  31. ^ The News Journal, Police: Steve McNair death is apparent murder-suicide
  32. ^ Kate Howard (2009-07-07). "Woman's gun ID'd in Steve McNair death, but questions linger". The Tennessean (USA Today). Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  33. ^ The New York Post: QB GAVE GAL A GOODBYE DISS
  34. ^ The Clarion-Ledger: Police: Kazemi bought gun found at scene
  35. ^ Tampa Examiner: Feds arrest Florida murderer who sold the murder weapon that killed Steve McNair and Sahel Kazemi [3]
  36. ^ Statement From Titans Owner K.S. 'Bud' Adams, Jr. Regarding Steve McNair., 2009-07-04. Retrieved 2009-07-04.
  37. ^ Former QB Steve McNair Found Murdered

External links

External videos
McNair at Alcorn State
McNair with the Tennessee Titans
McNair's retirement press conference
Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Doug Nussmeier
Walter Payton Award Winner
Succeeded by
Dave Dickenson
Preceded by
Rich Gannon
AP NFL Most Valuable Player
2003 season
(Co-MVP Peyton Manning)
Succeeded by
Peyton Manning
Sporting positions
Preceded by
Chris Chandler
Tennessee Oilers/Titans Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Vince Young
Preceded by
Kyle Boller
Baltimore Ravens Starting Quarterbacks
Succeeded by
Kyle Boller

Simple English

Steve McNair
McNair as a member of the Ravens
Jersey #(s):
Born: February 14, 1973(1973-02-14)
Mount Olive, Mississippi
Died: July 4, 2009 (aged 36)
Nashville, Tennessee
Career Information
Year(s): 1995–2007
NFL Draft: 1995 / Round: 1 / Pick: 3
College: Alcorn State
Professional Teams
Career Stats
TDINT     174–119
Yards     31,304
QB Rating     82.8
Stats at
Career Highlights and Awards
  • Pro Bowl selection (2000, 2003, 2005)
  • All-Pro selection (2003)
  • 2003 Co-AP NFL MVP
  • 1994 Walter Payton Award

Steve LaTreal McNair (February 14, 1973 – July 4, 2009) was an American football quarterback who used to play for the Tennessee Titans and the Baltimore Ravens of the NFL. He was murdered on July 4, 2009.[1]


  1. Former NFL quarterback McNair killed in Tennessee

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