McNair also made impact in Baltimore

July, 5, 2009
7/05/09
11:51
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's James Walker

Steve McNair spent the majority of his career with the Tennessee Titans, but he also will be remembered for his impactful and productive stay with the Baltimore Ravens.

 
  David Maxwell/Getty Images
  Steve McNair helped lead the Ravens to a 13-3 mark in 2006.

McNair, who suffered an untimely passing on Saturday, was Baltimore's first legitimate threat at quarterback in the team's 13-year history.

After a bevy of failed draft picks and free-agent acquisitions, the Ravens were in search of a winner who could steady the quarterback position. In 2006, they turned to McNair -- one of their biggest rivals -- to become Baltimore's new leader on offense.

The chemistry was instant as McNair's toughness and character commanded respect and quickly made him a leader in Baltimore's locker room. He helped propel the Ravens to a 13-3 finish and an AFC North title in his first year with the team.

On a defensive-oriented team, McNair threw for 3,050 yards and 16 touchdowns in 2006 before losing in the divisional round of the playoffs to the Indianapolis Colts, who went on to win Super Bowl XLI. A strong case can be made that the Ravens' 2006 team with McNair was the organization's best outside of its title team in 2000.

"What we admired most about Steve when we played against him was his competitive spirit, and we were lucky enough to have that with us for two years," Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said this weekend. "He is one of the best players in the NFL over the last 20 years."

McNair started all 16 games in 2006, but injuries caught up to him during his second and final season in Baltimore. He played in just six games in 2007 and retired the following offseason.

McNair deservingly will be remembered mostly as a Tennessee Titan. But he also left a significant imprint during his two years in Baltimore, as well.

James Walker | email

ESPN Miami Dolphins reporter

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