S. McNair Retiring
Quarterback Steve McNair is retiring.
The Baltimore Ravens have scheduled a 1 p.m. news conference at which McNair, they said, will make his retirement announcement.
McNair, 35, played in 13 NFL seasons, the last two of them with the Ravens after 11 with the franchise called the Houston Oilers, Tennessee Oilers and Tennessee Titans during his tenure. He threw for 31,304 yards and 174 touchdowns as a pro and was among the most respected quarterbacks in the sport.
But it became more and more difficult for him to remain healthy in recent years. He played in all 16 games in a season only once in the last five years, and he played in only six games last season.
McNair was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and was the league's co-most valuable player in 2003 with Peyton Manning. He led the Titans to a Super Bowl appearance at the conclusion of the 1999 season. They lost to the St. Louis Rams in a thrilling finish, coming up one yard shy of a tying touchdown.
His retirement leaves the Ravens with Kyle Boller and Troy Smith at quarterback. They have the eighth overall selection in the NFL draft in nine days and perhaps could select Boston College quarterback Matt Ryan. If they opt to sign a veteran quarterback, Byron Leftwich and Daunte Culpepper are among the still-available free agents. The Ravens once were interested in Leftwich before drafting Boller, but didn't sign him prior to last season after he was released by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Leftwich ended up in Atlanta instead but was released by the Falcons after the season.
UPDATE (1:50 p.m.)...
McNair said at an afternoon news conference at the Ravens' training facility in Owings Mills, Md., that his body simply could not withstand any more seasons.
"Mentally, I could go out and play," McNair said. "But my body couldn't do it any more, not to the level to go out and help my teammates win a football game. It was a hard decision. But I think it's the right decision."
More from McNair:
* "My career speaks for itself. I enjoyed it. I can look back on it, reflect back on it, and I wouldn't change a thing.... I played the game with a lot of passion. I played the game with a lot of heart."
* "What a great ride. It was a great ride here for those two short years."
* "It's a sad day for me, a very emotional day for me. I'm doing the best I can. But at the same time, it's opening up a lot of doors for things I want to do."
* "I'm fortunate to walk away from the game on my own two feet."
* "I'm very confident I'm making the right decision. It's a hard decision. But me and this organization, we need to move on. My mind was saying yes but my body was saying no way."
McNair said the issue had been lingering in his mind since December. He'd been working out every day at the Ravens' facility to see how his body would react. Once he decided to retire, he delivered the news Wednesday to Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome and then today to his teammates. Even longtime teammates like wide receiver Derrick Mason and cornerback Samari Rolle said they didn't see it coming. Mason called it "shocking."
New coach John Harbaugh said he was "disappointed." He said McNair's teammates gave him a standing ovation when the quarterback announced his retirement to them.
Newsome said that McNair's decision would not affect the Ravens' draft plans (he didn't elaborate, but that very well could mean they were going to draft a quarterback anyway and they'll still draft a quarterback). He also said that he and other club officials would decide after the draft whether to add a veteran quarterback.
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