Saturday, July 04, 2009

Goodnight, Captain: The Death of Steve McNair

In a week of high-profile deaths, none has been as shocking - or as seemingly senseless - as the apparent murder/suicide (hours later being referred to as a double-homicide) of the former Nashville Titans quarterback in downtown Nashville today.

I had been attending a Hot Chicken Festival on the other side of the Cumberland river in east Nashville. On my way home, I passed on the highway in favor of a trip over the bridge and along the waterfront to Crema to get a cup of coffee. Crema was closed for the holiday, so I began the slow meander west towards the main artery to my side of town that is 8th Avenue.

Passing by 2nd and Lea, I found that my my path towards 8th was blocked at several points by what turned out to be a number of police cars and a tangle of yellow crime scene tape.

By the time I got home I heard that Steve may have been killed. As usual, my Facebook friends and I were spreading the news before many of the local stations had even gone through with official stories.

As some of you know, I spent an earlier lifetime as a jock. For all of my dark poetics I used to be totally dedicated to playing football as a co-captain of my varsity team. A lover of the smashing and the crashing, I usually look down on quarterbacks in favor of defensive ends and pulling guards. I've never cared for the glory-boy posturing that goes along with the QB position.

Steve was different. He was everything a good quarterback should be AND he was one of the toughest dudes to ever play the game. "Country Strong" as someone once said. McNair was a stoic, heroic leader, a true inspiration and a great warrior-citizen for the city of Nashville and the Titans.

Goodnight, Captain.

If you have the time, watch this great video online at NFL dot com. It tells the story of Steve's road to the NFL. It lasts for about 7 minutes. Sorry I couldn't embed it.


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Joe Nolan


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