|No backing out of retirement for McNair|
|Written by Admin|
|Wednesday, 20 August 2008 22:41|
Retirement has that effect on people.
McNair visited the Tennessee Titans on their final day of training camp Wednesday in his first visit to the team's property since being told in April 2006 that he couldn't work out here anymore because of the risk of injury with his $23.4 million salary cap number. A grievance, arbitration and a trade to Baltimore two months later ended his 11-year stint with the team.
He spent two years with Ravens, then retired in April. He had stayed in touch with Titans coach Jeff Fisher, who had asked him to come watch practice, but McNair didn't make it out until Wednesday. The delay wasn't because McNair felt the need to bury any hatchets.
``I still love the organization, but it was just a business move. You can't mix personal things with business. It was a business decision. I accepted that, and we moved on,'' he said. ``They gave me an opportunity to play 11 years and take care of my family, so I don't have any animosity toward this organization, especially the coaching staff, because the coaching staff is just like family.''
McNair used the visit to announce a retirement party in Nashville on Oct. 31 to raise money for his foundation and charities in Tennessee and Mississippi, including one for autistic children. This franchise used the No. 3 pick overall in 1995 on McNair, and he helped the Titans reach the playoffs four of five seasons.
But the Titans drafted his protege, Vince Young, in April 2006, and he was traded. McNair led the Ravens to a 13-3 record and a playoff berth that year and played in 2007. Floyd Reese, the general manager at the time of the trade, was let go himself in January 2007 and replaced by Mike Reinfeldt.
McNair joked that he was scared to come in at first before saying it felt good to be back.
``Jeff and I talk off and on. He's always wanted me to come back,'' McNair said.
Fisher said he and McNair have gotten together several times in the offseason socially.
``It's good that he feels welcome to come back in the building. He knows he's welcome anytime,'' Fisher said.
As for playing, McNair says he scratched his itch. He echoed what he said at his retirement announcement in that his mind was up for the challenge but not his body. If anyone called, McNair wasn't listening. He said he kept his phone off the hook.
Nothing has changed McNair's relationship with Young, something that started while Young was in high school in Texas. McNair said he talked with Young about what to expect when Fisher brought back offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger. Young has been criticized for completing only four passes in two exhibitions.
McNair said the game didn't slow down for himself until toward the end of his third season, which was his first as a starter. The Titans started Young in the fourth game of his rookie season. The veteran's best advice to Young might be having amnesia about any bad plays and focusing on the next play.
That, and not trying to fight the media covering him.
``It's just that growing spurt he's got to go through, and he'll realize it,'' McNair said. ``People don't understand this is only his third year. (Vince) has a lot to learn. He has a lot to improve on, and he's willing to do that. ... He's so competitive, and he wants to do everything right, and it gets to him if he doesn't live up to the fans' or the coaches' expectations.''
On the Net:
The Steve McNair Foundation: www.officialstevemcnair.com