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JOESAM2002 09-19-2003 09:11 AM

McNair has a history.........
McNair has history of playing while hurt

Titans QB has suffered injuries all over body

Friday September 19, 2003

By Brian Allee-Walsh
Staff writer

It should come as no surprise that Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair enters Sunday's game against the Saints with an injury.

In fact, it's a bigger shock when he isn't on the league's weekly injury report.

In eight-plus seasons, McNair has sustained injuries to his head, shoulder, knees, toes, fingers, sternum, ankle, foot, ribs, thumb and elbow.

The latest injury happened last Sunday in a 33-7 loss at Indianapolis. He dislocated the ring finger on his right hand, sending him to the sideline for six to eight plays.

The pain and discomfort has limited his practice time this week, and team officials list him as questionable. But Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he expects McNair to be in the starting lineup Sunday, sore finger and all.

"I think the toughest guy to play the position prior to Steve was Phil Simms," Fisher said. "He took some hits. You couldn't get him out of a ball game. You couldn't keep him from practicing.

"Steve is unique in, regardless of what it is, he is going to find his way back on to the playing field. He may not make it on the practice field, but he will find his way back on the playing field. Last week was evident. Somebody watching the telecast saw the finger pointing at a right angle on his hand. They reduced it, took him in and taped it up. It's very hard to keep him out of the game."

Since becoming a full-time starter in 1997, McNair has missed seven of 97 games. Five of those came in 1999 when he had surgery to repair a ruptured disk in his lower back. He returned to lead the Titans to Super Bowl XXXIV in Atlanta against the St. Louis Rams.

"It's very hard to find a part of my body that hasn't been injured," McNair said. "That's the name of the game. This is a physical game, and the style that I play, you can expect that. It's just a matter of how well you handle the pain."

Those who have played with and against McNair say his ability to play with pain is what makes him a leader. They also say that McNair, all 6 feet 2 inches, 229 pounds of him, dishes out as much punishment as he takes.

In 2000, he played in all 16 games, despite suffering a severely bruised sternum in Week 2. Between the 2000 and 2001 seasons, doctors needed 15 gallons of water to flush an infection in his right shoulder that, for a month, caused pain "like no other," he said.

In 2001, he fought through right shoulder problems to pass for 3,350 yards, even though at times he could not touch his left shoulder with his right hand. In 2002, toe, rib and back injuries prevented him from practicing in December, but he led the Titans to a 5-0 record and was the AFC Offensive Player of the Month.

McNair, 30, credits growing up on a farm in Mt. Olive, Miss., with helping him develop a high pain threshold.

"I got a lot of respect for Steve, just because of the stuff he went through the past couple of years," said Saints defensive tackle Henry Ford, who played with the Houston Oilers and Titans from 1994 to 2002. "When I think of a quarterback, I don't look at him as being tough. That's why it was a shock to me for Steve to be as tough as he was. I would go so far to say that he's tougher than me. Some of the injuries he had, I don't know if I could have played with. He's part of the elite."

McNair, a No. 1 pick in 1995 out of Alcorn State, is one of five players in the NFL who has passed for 19,000 yards (19,961) and rushed for 3,000 yards (3,053). The others are John Elway, Fran Tarkenton, Steve Young and Randall Cunningham.

"He's the guy who makes everything go for Tennessee," Saints coach Jim Haslett said. "He is a big human being. He has a big arm. He is powerful and is very hard to tackle.

"I don't know if you can stop him, but you have to try to slow him down. He can run. He can stay in the pocket, and he also rolls out. So you have to be ready for his running ability. He is one of the better quarterbacks in the league."

When it comes to playing hurt, there might not be better.

"My team feels that, regardless if I'm hurt or not, they have the confidence in me, and especially the coaching staff, to go out there and get the job done," McNair said. "You want to go out there and lead by example, and that's what I do."

Now that's what I call a leader.

[Edited on 19/9/2003 by JOESAM2002]

BillyCarpenter1 09-19-2003 09:26 AM

McNair has a history.........
I have a couple of things to say about this article.

1. Steve McNair is a great player and leader. One of his biggest assests is is running ability and his ability to buy time in the pocket.

2. He plays though injuries and is congradulated for it. He wants to play no matter what and I don\'t blame him. But, how is it that he is praised for wanting to play through injuries and Brook\'s is not??

BlackandBlue 09-19-2003 09:55 AM

McNair has a history.........
Here we go again, listen, the situation last year involving an injured Brooks and him continually playing despite his injury had nothing to do with Brooks. Every single thread I’ve seen on this topic has pointed the finger at the coaching staff, not Brooks. Quit creating controversy when there is none to begin with.
Besides, McNair has proven in the past that he can still be effective, despite the injuries. But this new one is on his throwing hand, which I think is different than his previous injuries, similar in case to Brooks\' shoulder.

[Edited on 19/9/2003 by BlackandBlue]

BillyCarpenter1 09-19-2003 10:02 AM

McNair has a history.........

Here we go again, listen, the situation last year involving an injured Brooks and him continually playing despite his injury had nothing to do with Brooks. Every single thread I’ve seen on this topic has pointed the finger at the coaching staff, not Brooks. Quit creating controversy when there is none to begin with.
I was refering to Brooks getting booed at the dome last week. And quit trying to stiffle my opinion.

Furthermore, there have been plenty of posts suggesting Brooks should have took himself out of the games last year and suggested he wasn\'t a team player. Wanna bet $500.00 I can\'t go back and find \'em?

BlackandBlue 09-19-2003 10:13 AM

McNair has a history.........
I wasn\'t stiffling your opinion, I did not realize that an opinion could be structured as a question. I felt I was merely answering your question. If there were such posts, I do not remember them but I will say that if Brooks\' ever pulled himself out of a game, I would question his ability to be a starting QB moreso than ever. I would never want a QB to be playing for my team if he didn\'t have the drive to play, regardless of the situation he was in.

BillyCarpenter1 09-19-2003 10:22 AM

McNair has a history.........
I\'m just messing around with ya B&B. I didn\'t think you were trying to stiffle my opinion. I just couldn\'t resist-- ;)

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