NASHVILLE – When quarterback Marcus Mariota was drafted by the Titans back in 2015, it didn't take him long to find out about another QB: Steve McNair.
Mariota had watched McNair from afar, as a youngster growing up in Hawaii.
When he arrived in Nashville, he found out a whole lot more.
"It is cool to really know more about him and learn more about him as I have been here the last few years," Mariota said of McNair. "Just being around the city, fans, ever since I got here, made it a point to just let me know who he was. I can appreciate that, and it just shows how much he meant to this team and to the city.
"Steve really was somebody that played through pain, played through a lot of things. On top of that he was a great player as well. It is easy to sit there and when everything is going right to kind of be the face of the franchise, but he was the guy that no matter what stuck through it."
McNair played 11 seasons with the club (1995–2005), becoming its second all-time leading passer (27,141 yards) and recording more wins as a starter (76) than any other franchise quarterback.
McNair, who played from 1995-2005 with the Oilers/Titans, set team records and accumulated the most wins of any quarterback in Titans/Oilers history. He led Tennessee's famous drive that ended up a yard short of forcing overtime in Super Bowl XXXIV, was a four-time Pro Bowler, and he was co-MVP of the NFL with Colts quarterback Peyton Manning in 2003. McNair finished his career with 31,304 yards passing and 174 touchdowns.
Mariota, in his fifth NFL season, on Wednesday was asked about playing in McNair's shadow.
"I really don't try and think about that," Mariota said. "Because then you sit there and try to compare what you've done to what he did and how he really handled himself. So I just focus on trying to be the best version of myself."
McNair's No.9 jersey will be retired during a halftime ceremony during Sunday's home opener against the Indianapolis Colts. On the same day, the Titans will also retire jersey No. 27 for running back Eddie George.
Mariota said it should be a special day.
"It is pretty cool," Mariota said. "It is going to be an awesome deal (for McNair) on Sunday, as well as Eddie. It is well-deserved and I think it is pretty cool for them. Sunday is going to be really cool."
A first-round pick (3rd overall) by the Houston Oilers in the 1995 NFL Draft, Steve McNair led the Titans to the playoffs four times, including an appearance in Super Bowl XXXIV, while passing for 27,141 yards and 156 TDs in 11 seasons with the franchise. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP, Mike Mu)
Titans Online looks back at franchise legends Eddie George and Steve McNair in Super Bowl XXXIV. (AP Photos)
BE A PART OF HISTORY
This Sunday, September 15 will be a special day as the Titans retire QB Steve McNair's No. 9 jersey and RB Eddie George's No. 27 jersey during halftime of the team's home opener vs the Indianapolis Colts.
Don't miss this amazing day in franchise history!