Vince Young never got the chance to be Steve McNair’s teammate. The Tennessee Titans’ current backup quarterback was a close to the slain star as just about anyone who did, however.
Consequently, the news of McNair’s death in a fatal shooting Saturday had deeply personal ramifications for Young, who often referred to his mentor as ‘Pops.’
“I'm still in shock since hearing the news yesterday,” Young said in a statement released by the team Sunday. “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.
The two met when Young attended one of McNair’s football camps. They fostered their relationship throughout Young’s college career, and McNair was on the sideline at the 2006 Rose Bowl when Young led the University of Texas to the BCS championship.
The Titans drafted Young third overall third overall on April 29, 2006. Fewer than two months later (June 6, 2006) McNair was traded to the Baltimore Ravens.
“My thoughts and prayers are with Mechelle, the kids and the entire McNair family during this horrible time,” Young said.
More reaction Sunday to McNair’s death:
“Steve and I had a mutually respected friendship. He was one of the great warriors to ever put on a football uniform at any position. His competitiveness and toughness were unparalleled. He was always a gentlemen, and very giving off the field. One of the great people in our league was taken from us way to soon. My thoughts and prayers go out to the McNair Family, and all who knew him.” – Warren Moon, former Houston Oilers quarterback.
“The thing I will always remember about him was whether it was a good or bad on the field, the whole team – both offense and defense – believed he would lead us to victory if we could just get the ball in his hands at the end of the game. His leadership skills spoke for themselves and you see everyone that has talked about him touched on that aspect of his game. He will be missed.” – Blaine Bishop, former Tennessee Titans’ safety.