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Tennessee Titans Morning Links: Saluting Not Just A Quarterback, But A Leader Of Men Edition

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Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.  Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its hear t may stand in the sun, so must you know pain... It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore, trust the physician and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.

- from The Prophet, by Khalil Gibran 

Before we proceed with the links this morning, I have a few quick points to make about the impact of Steve's murder, how the coverage is likely to go and what will be tolerated around here:

• No matter what comes out about how Steve died or what mistakes he'd made in his personal life, nothing he could have done deserves this.  Infidelity does not warrant murder, and if you're going to hate on a super star for cheating on his wife then you'd best just give up liking sports, music, movies and just about anything else that brings fame these days.  I don't agree with it, but it ain't my life either.  Thus, lets keep the discussion above the board and off of the soap-box, shall we?  Show some respect for the man's wife and children, please.

• Respect will be shown.  Feel like dragging McNair's name through the mud or attacking his memory over things that had noting to do with his impact on the field or in the hearts of Titans fans across the world?  Go elsewhere.  At MCM, respect will be shown for our QB.

• The one aspect of Steve's legacy in Nashville that will never get the notice it deserves is how much he meant to the African-American community here.  Before Steve there had never really been a black superstar in this town.  It's a country music haven, and Charlie Pride wasn't exactly oozing street-cred or the demands for social justice of a Jim Brown.  When the Titans moved to Nashville though, there was suddenly a true inspiration to tell kids to look up to.  Steve went to a historically black college, did intensive work in the community and served as a top-flight role model for countless kids of all races in Nashville.  What he meant to the black community though, can't be underestimated.  African-American kids in this city hadn't seen someone that looked like them be given the keys to power, respect and influence in Nashville before.  He was well aware of his influence here: it's no coincidence that when he opened a restaurant in town it was on Jefferson St. just down the block from historically black TSU.  He gave jobs to people from the community because they needed them, and he made sure the food was affordable.   It was his final gift to the community he helped inspire, and lift-up through his play on the field, his leadership in the locker room and his efforts to set a good example in every Nashville community.  Click here to see the reaction outside of Steve McNair's Gridiorn9.

• You want to know how much Nashville loved Steve McNair?  Even leaving  to play for the Ravens couldn't turn us against him.  He was cheered at LP Field upon his return back in 2006, and I don't mean 'stand up and golf clap, yay' cheered, I mean shake the earth and wake the gods cheer.  Derrick Mason and Samari Rolle never got similar ovations... not even close.

Click through the jump for the links:

Tennessee_titans_30x21 The Tennessean has loads of details on the woman whose life ended with McNair (and whom it's looking increasingly likely killed him), including how the two probably met.

Tennessee_titans_30x21 Who would have ever thought that the toughest man in Nashville would go out like this.  Here, ex-teammates weigh in on this tragedy.

Tennessee_titans_30x21 You know it's a tragic loss when even KSK is respectful and saddened by the news.  that doesn't stop them from churning out the best line I've seen so far about the toughest hombre to ever play QB in the league:

Rest in peace, Air McNair.  Had you not already retired, we’re sure you could play through this one, too.

/starts slow clap.

Tennessee_titans_30x21 Jeff Fisher found out about the tragedy while on a USO Tour visiting troops with other high-profile NFL coaches.  Here's his statement:

"I am deeply saddened and at this point do not have the words to describe this loss,’’ Fisher said. "It is an extremely emotional moment and I don’t have the words to explain how I am feeling. I ask people to please pray for Mechelle and the entire McNair family. This is a tragic moment for his family, and it is a tragic moment for anyone who knew and loved Steve.’’

Tennessee_titans_30x21 Tom Curran has a great read about the impact Steve McNair had on the NFL, pointing out that he was really one of the first black franchise QBs.  Rarely if ever before did teams build the entire franchise around a black QB before McNair.

Tennessee_titans_30x21 Hearing Eddie George choke-up talking about this on the news last night certainly got to me.  I can't imagine what it's like to lose someone you're so connected to personally and professionally like that in such a violent way.

Tennessee_titans_30x21 At the AOL Fanhouse, MDS recalls just how unstoppable McNair was at Alcorn State.  For more on that check-out this now legendary Sport Illustrated piece making the case that McNair should be the first Division I-AA player to win the Heisman.

Keep checking back with MCM for more information and tributes.  If you have anything you'd like to share, we encourage you to take advantage of the comments section, or the fanpost/fanshots to share your thoughts with the close-knit Titans community.

And for me, remember to tell the people close to you you love them, because you never know when it's all going to be over.