Late For Work 7/5: Video: Remembering Steve McNair

Plus is Ogden the best offensive lineman of Y2K era? Teams that could sign Housh.

Posted by Sarah Ellison on Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 at 9:29 am | Categories: Late For Work, Sarah Ellison

Remembering Steve McNair

While citizens across the country celebrated Independence Day yesterday, it was also a time for friends, family and fans to reflect on the passing and life of former Titans and Ravens quarterback Steve McNair.

Derrick Mason, who played 10 total seasons with McNair in both locations, remembered his longtime teammate via Twitter on the second anniversary of his death.

“Prayers go out the the mcNair family today!” tweeted Mason. McNair is survived by his wife, Mechelle, and four sons.

In Baltimore, McNair will be most remembered for leading the Ravens to a franchise-best 13-3 record in 2006. He battled injuries the following year, and then the 14-year veteran retired in the 2008 offseason.

“He was a fun teammate,” Mason said at the time of McNair’s death via ESPN. “Hard worker. A guy that tried to get the most out of everybody on the team. Rarely do you get to play with an individual that has so much passion for the game and would sacrifice whatever he had to to make sure his team went out there and won a game.

“He was one of those rare individuals and for me it was an honor to play with him basically all my career.”

Prior to becoming teammates, linebacker Ray Lewis and McNair battled against each other in multiple contests, but the rivalry didn’t stop them from becoming allies off the field.

“The first day of my life meeting Steve McNair, even in competition, I became a friend,” Lewis said at McNair’s funeral. “A man that I fought against day in and day out, I figured out that it wasn’t about technique to beat him.

“No amount of film would beat this man. You had to be built of will, heart, sacrifice and dedication. That is what this man left his four kings,” Lewis said, referring to McNair’s four sons.

Perhaps one of McNair’s greatest football achievements, which includes an NFL co-MVP award in 2003, was leading an obscure 1999 Tennessee Titans team to a 13-3 season and the franchise’s first Super Bowl appearance.

McNair brought his team back from a 16-point deficit to tie the game against the St. Louis Rams, but ultimately lost when his infamous pass to Kevin Dyson literally came up one yard short of a touchdown to force overtime.

Still, some say it was one of the gutsiest Super Bowl performances ever, which is why it’s the perfect video to watch as we look back and remember Steve McNair.

Ogden Best Offensive Lineman Of New Millennium?

Who was the greatest offensive lineman of the new millennium: Jonathan Ogden or Walter Jones?

Steve Wyche of NFL.com believes the best was Ogden, the Ravens’ first-ever draft pick, who “had no rival as the top lineman.”

“At 6-foot-9, it was amazing watching how easily, fluidly and violently Jonathan Ogden played left tackle,” wrote Wyche. “He was seemingly too tall and massive to be able to keep up against some of the great pass rushers and run stuffers in the NFL, but he simply annihilated most of them.”

Over the course of his career, Ogden was selected as an All-Pro nine times, made the Pro Bowl 11 times and earned a Super Bowl ring.

The awards and hardware are praise worthy, but perhaps more significant was Ogden’s help in proving the left tackle position is the second most important offensive position after quarterback.

“The humble Ogden is undoubtedly one of the top linemen … scratch that, he’s one of the top players of his generation and deservedly ranks among the top 10 linemen of all time,” Wyche concluded.

Meanwhile, Elliot Harrison also said a left tackle deserves the award for the best offensive lineman, but he gave that honor to Jones.

Jones is a nine-time Pro Bowler himself, but what sets him apart from Ogden, says Harrison, was his team’s offensive rankings over the years.

“Seattle finished in the top 10 in team offense every year from 2002 to 2005, the heart of Jones’ career,” wrote Harrison. “That’s why I give Jones the nod over Ogden. The Ravens never finished higher than 14th in offense during the 2000s while Ogden was with the team from 2000 to 2007.

“While Ogden was a great player, and more famous than Jones, team offense has to be considered on some level when judging offensive line play.”

Of 3,840 NFL.com voters, 55 percent believe Ogden was the best offensive lineman of the Y2K era while Jones received 35 percent of votes.

Teams That Could Sign Houshmandzadeh

Last week, ProFootballTalk.com’s Gregg Rosenthal suggested that free-agent receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh may not get a contract offer from an NFL team when league business resumes.

Despite bumpy 2009 and 2010 seasons, Football Insiders says there’s “no doubt” a team will sign Housh for 2011.

“The biggest issues that might scare teams away from Housh is the fact he is 33 and on the downside of his career and Housh’s attitude,” the website wrote.  “Housh did the right thing in leaving the Bengals, but things just haven’t turned out like he wanted them too.”

Houshmandzadeh believes he will “shock” people if given the right opportunity on the right team.

Football Insiders speculates one of those teams could be the Bears, Redskins, Rams or Bengals.

Quick Hits

  • JaredGaither: The top 4 players from #TheU Andre Johnson, Ray Lewis, Ed Reed, Clinton Portis @proCanes
  • A group of retired players filed a class-action complaint against the owners and current players in federal court Monday, saying they have been excluded from the mediation sessions taking place in an attempt to end the lockout. [NFL.com]
  • If the lockout continues to the point of missing the entire preseason, the NFL would lose about $800 million. ProFootballTalk.com explains the players would lose $384 of the $800 million, while the owners would lose $416 million, assuming the player get a clean 48 percent share under the new CBA.
  • Ravens rookie Torrey Smith speaks with Comcast Sportsnet about his experience at the NFL Players Association’s Rookie Symposium.

 

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