The death of quarterback Steve McNair is a titanic loss felt throughout the NFL

When Steve McNair died from multiple gunshot wounds in a Nashville condominium Saturday, an incident Nashville police hinted may have been a murder-suicide committed by his girlfriend, he took with him the image of an unyielding competitor, a tough-as-nails quarterback who fought through pain, discrimination and some of the toughest defenses in NFL history.
The images McNair left were indelible: His face in a twisted grimace after a devastating hit, from which he always managed to get up, always managed to keep going; limping on a badly damaged ankle; holding an aching shoulder; a sternum bruised so badly he had to be hospitalized.