NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Titans Head Coach Jeff Fisher spoke publicly for the first time Monday following the death of former quarterback Steve McNair.
The man who coached McNair for 11 of his 13 NFL seasons said he hopes the star athlete is remembered for the way he played in the field and bettered the community.
McNair, who was drafted third overall in the 1995 NFL draft, was the first draft pick of the Jeff Fisher era and the foundation of his teams for the next decade.
Fisher was in Kuwait when he got the call from former Titan Eddie George on Saturday.
Two days later it was still difficult to put into words.
“The Steve McNair that I knew was a great person,” Fisher said. “He put this organization on the map here in Tennessee; put us in our first Super Bowl. I will miss him as you all will miss him and I ask you to honor what he did on the field and in the community and what he was, a tremendous teammate. That’s his legacy and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
When asked if the circumstances surrounding McNair’s death could taint his legacy, Fisher was quick to dismiss it and focus on his magnificent career and the man he knew.
“The Steve McNair that I knew would want me to say, ‘I’m sorry. I’m not perfect. We all make decisions sometimes that are not in the best interest, please forgive me’,” Fisher continued. “The Steve McNair that I knew would want me to say, ‘Celebrate my life, for what I did on the field, for what I did in the community, and the kind of teammate that I was.'”
Fisher said he’ll fill the void left by McNair’s passing with the memories he has of them.
“My hope is that we can get past the circumstances and let that go and remember Steve,” he said.
Titans quarterback Vince Young looked up to McNair.
In a statement issued Sunday afternoon, he said, “I’m still in shock since hearing the news. I spent all afternoon and night thinking about my life on and off the field with ‘Pops.’ Since I was a teenager, he was like a father to me. I hear his advice in my head with everything I do. Life will be very different without him. My thoughts and prayers are with Mechelle, the kids and the entire McNair family during this horrible time.”