The Tennessee Titans announced Thursday that they will wear a “9” helmet sticker this season to honor the late quarterback Steve McNair.
The sticker will appear on the back of the helmet and will remain in place throughout the entire 2009 season, starting with this Sunday’s Hall of Fame game against Buffalo.
“Through many internal discussions, we felt this was an appropriate way to honor Steve McNair and the contributions he made to our franchise,” said Titans owner K.S. “Bud” Adams, Jr. “We have other things planned for our fans to honor him and the McNair family; and we take some solace in the fact that we were able to induct him into our Ring of Honor last season, while he was with us.”
Titans players who knew McNair were pleased with the tribute idea.
"I think it’s great. I was going to probably figure out something I could do anyway, even if they didn’t do that," linebacker Keith Bulluck said. "I think it’s very well deserved for the person Mac was in this community for who he was on this team and what he meant to this organization."
Quarterback Vince Young, who considered McNair a mentor and father figure, was also moved by the decision.
"It means a whole lot, just to show off how much the organization loves him and how much I respect him," Young said.
McNair played 11 seasons (1995-05) for the Titans/Oilers after being selected with the third overall selection in the 1995 NFL Draft. During his career, he led the franchise to more wins (76) than any other quarterback in club history, earned three Pro Bowl selections and was named the NFL Co-MVP following the 2003 season.
He became only the second player in franchise history to win NFL MVP honors, joining Earl Campbell (1979). He also became the only quarterback in club history to lead the Titans/Oilers to a Super Bowl (XXXIV) by capturing the AFC Championship in 1999.
McNair’s 27,141 passing yards in a Titans uniform rank second in club annals behind Warren Moon (33,685). He also brought the running dimension to the team, becoming one of only three players in NFL history (Fran Tarkenton and Steve Young) to pass for 30,000 yards and rush for 3,500 yards. He also ranks fifth in franchise history in rushing with 3,439 yards.
McNair was shot and killed on July 4 of this year.