Tough Customer – Steve McNair

Needles do not scare Steve McNair, a man whose heroics on the football field have been made possible by IV lines and pain-killing injections. So at halftime on Sunday, when the Tennessee Titans’ gritty quarterback was told by team doctors that he’d need three stitches to close a gash on his chin, McNair did not flinch. Having already staked the Titans to a three-touchdown lead in their AFC showdown with the Miami Dolphins, McNair stoically assumed his familiar reclining position on the training table. “Patch me up, Doc,” the 30-year-old McNair said, sounding like Marshal Matt Dillon or one of the other gunslingers he watches religiously on late-night TV. Ninety minutes later, after Tennessee (7-2) had sewed up a 31-7 victory over Miami and moved into a first-place tie with the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC South, 68,809 fans left The Coliseum with an impression of McNair that is rapidly spreading through the NFL—that he is fearless and peerless. “He’s the MVP, no question,” Dolphins linebacker Junior Seau said as he trudged off the field. “He’s so comfortable now, and that’s causing headaches for the whole league.”

si.com
11/17/03