Fans Line Up To Honor Steve McNair
Former Teammate Says He Was 'Devastated' By QB's Death
KRISTIN M. HALL, Associated Press Writer
POSTED: Thursday, July 9, 2009
UPDATED: 11:47 am CDT July 9, 2009
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Dozens of Steve McNair fans donned Tennessee Titans gear as they lined up around a funeral home Thursday to honor the slain ex-NFL quarterback's accomplishments and charity work.
Inside the building, a closed silvery-gray casket topped with white lilies sat next to a portrait of the former Titans star.
A line formed around the corner and police were directing traffic around the north Nashville funeral home. Many mourners showed up wearing Titans jerseys and T-shirts to pay their respects to a man they say was a leader of the team.
Derrick Lewis said McNair "put the Titans on the map."
Lewis, wearing a Titans jersey, said he and his family were devastated when they learned of McNair's death. Police have said McNair, 36, was shot four times July 4 by a girlfriend who then killed herself in a condo McNair shared with a friend.
"Myself and my family were completely shocked and some of us were crying because you almost feel like you are related," Lewis said.
But Lewis said the details of the killing haven't changed his opinion of McNair.
"I will always remember him for the good things that he did for the community and the Tennessee Titans," Lewis said. "Nobody's perfect."
Annetta Moore brought her grandson, Darrien James, 9, and granddaughter Olivia Cole, 11, to the funeral home and said she planned to take them to LP Field for another public memorial Thursday and visit his restaurant.
Moore said it wasn't uncommon to see McNair hanging out around town.
"I think he just blended right in with everybody," Moore said.
Loretta Lang said the details of the death should be a private family issue and shouldn't take away from his charitable work.
"He's definitely going to be missed because he gave back like many of the original Houston Oilers that became the Tennessee Titans," she said after viewing the casket.
The Tennessee Titans have also opened LP Field to the public, where a video tribute to McNair is being shown and fans can write messages in a book for McNair's family.
McNair's wife, close friends and ex-teammates are expected at a memorial service Thursday night at Mount Zion Baptist Church where the family has attended since moving to Nashville in 1997.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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