The Tennessee Titans are retiring the numbers of two of the greatest players in team history.
Steve McNair’s No. 9 and Eddie George’s No. 27 will be retired this season, the team announced today.
McNair was the Houston Oilers’ first-round draft pick in 1995 and George was the Oilers’ first-round pick in 1996. The franchise moved to Tennessee in 1997, and McNair and George became the cornerstones of a team that would reach at least the divisional round of the playoffs four times in a five-year stretch, including the Super Bowl after the 1999 season.
George attended a press conference today at the Titans facility and talked about having a front-row seat to McNair growing up as a player. Early in his career McNair was loudly booed and dismissed by many as an athlete who didn’t have the passing ability to be a pro quarterback, but he eventually became the league MVP.
“I was here when Steve didn’t have the confidence to throw a five-yard out,” George said. “He was contemplating retiring because he wasn’t enjoying the game anymore. . . . In 2003, when it all came together for him, when Jeff Fisher announced who the MVP was, we all stood in this room and cheered for him for 10 minutes.”
McNair and George are the first two players who played primarily for the Titans to have their jerseys retired. Six players who played primarily for the Oilers have had their numbers retired by the franchise.