After 13 seasons in the NFL, Baltimore Ravens quarterback Steve McNair is ready to walk away from the game.
McNair formally announced his retirement during a press conference on Thursday morning, flanked by Baltimore general manager Ozzie Newsome and head coach John Harbaugh. The former league MVP told teammates of his decision during an emotional meeting earlier in the morning before the launch of Harbaugh's first minicamp.
In good company
Steve McNair is one of three quarterbacks to pass for more than 30,000 yards and rush for more than 3,500 yards. The other two quarterbacks are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Years: 1995-2007 Teams:
Passing yards: 31,304
Rushing yards: 3,590
Years: 1985-1999 Teams:
Tampa Bay Buccaneers, San Francisco 49ers
Passing yards: 33,124
Rushing yards: 4,239
Years: 1961-1978 Teams:
Minnesota Vikings, New York Giants
Passing yards: 47,003
Rushing yards: 3,674
» For more, go to Baltimoreravens.com "It's been a long road," said McNair, who was able to keep his emotions in check. "But, I've been fortunate. I've been fortunate to surround myself with great people. When you have that support, you can almost overcome anything in life."
McNair began his career in 1995 with the Houston Oilers, who eventually became the Tennessee Titans. He led the team to four playoff appearances, including the Super Bowl after the 1999 season. He was named co-MVP of the league in 2003, sharing the award with Peyton Manning, after throwing for 3,215 yards and 24 touchdowns with only seven interceptions.
"My career speaks for itself," McNair said. "I enjoyed it. I can look back on it, reflect back on it, and wouldn't' change a thing."
The 35-year-old McNair led the Ravens to a 13-3 record in 2006, his first season in Baltimore after 11 years in Tennessee. But groin, back and shoulder injuries limited him to six games in 2007. He threw just two touchdown passes while losing seven fumbles and throwing four interceptions as the Ravens struggled to a 5-11 record.
McNair started the 2007 season with hopes of building on his first year in Baltimore, when he played in all 16 games, threw 16 touchdowns passes and led the Ravens into the playoffs.
But he hurt his groin on the second play of the season and never completely recovered. He was replaced by Kyle Boller in the opener at Cincinnati, was held out of Baltimore's second game and returned to play for three straight weeks before being slowed by a back injury.
Ravens coach Brian Billick held McNair out for two weeks before the team's bye on Oct. 28, hoping the rest would enable his ailing body to heal. But the quarterback was ineffective upon his return: He lost two fumbles and threw an interception in a 38-7 defeat at Pittsburgh, then threw for only 128 yards before being replaced in the fourth quarter of a 21-7 loss to Cincinnati.
It turned out to be his last game of the season ... and his career.
McNair's decision to retire almost assures the Ravens will target a quarterback in next weekend's draft. The team is left with only Boller and Troy Smith on the roster.
The Ravens own the eighth overall pick this year, a spot that could position them to select Boston College's Matt Ryan. They also own the seventh pick in the second round, where second-tier quarterbacks like Louisville's Brian Brohm, Joe Flacco of Delaware and Michigan's Chad Henne could still be available.