NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Jeff Fisher welled up within seconds of discussing the life — and death — of slain former QB Steve McNair at a news conference Monday.
His reaction wasn’t a surprise. Neither man achieved the success both had without the other. Fisher showed patience and confidence in McNair, whose maturation and toughness helped Fisher win games.
“He helped set this organization on the map here in Tennessee,” Fisher said.
Fisher was emotionally taxed, having to fly back from the Middle East on Sunday with this on his mind — and heart.
Yet, the details of McNair’s death, that he was shot in an apparent murder-suicide with 20-year-old girlfriend Sahel Kazemi, added salt to his emotional wounds. To be clear, police haven’t said if Kazemi shot McNair or if she shot herself, but they have given every indication that is the case.
Fisher acknowledged that McNair was flawed and, in saying what he thought McNair would say, he offered up apologies to the quarterback’s wife, kids and other family members.
This is a very tough time for Fisher because he and McNair were friends more than a coach usually is with a player, and vice versa. Fisher offered McNair the opportunity to attend training camp and work with players who, by virtue of seeing one of the toughest players ever, might man up when things get a little rough.
That won’t happen now, so it’s up to Fisher to set the example because things, for him, are a little rough right now.
– Steve Wyche