Slain ex-QB McNair mourned as a 'hero,' 'legend'
TERESA M. WALKER and CHRIS TALBOTT | 7/12/2009, 8:20 p.m.
Bobby Hamilton, who played at Southern Miss and in the NFL with New England and Oakland, used to sleep on the floor of McNair's oldest brother, Fred, when he played at Alcorn State. He also cheered on McNair during his career and recalled how McNair rallied Alcorn State once by scoring two touchdowns with less than a minute left.
"It's very painful. We know he was a warrior. ... I can't even say the word how this warrior went down," an emotional Hamilton said.
The program included memories from McNair's mother, his wife and sons, brothers, and nieces and nephews. Photos were also displayed of the quarterback who played 13 NFL seasons with Tennessee and Baltimore before retiring in 2008.
Coach Nevil Barr brought the jersey-clad Oak Grove team to the service. Steve McNair Jr. attends Oak Grove, and his father joined Favre at a summer workout two weeks ago to play catch with the kids.
"He was on our sideline every Friday night supporting his son," Barr said. "He loved to come watch Steve Jr., and we loved having him there. He always had that smile."
Deloris Cagins of nearby Columbia wore the purple and gold of McNair's alma mater, Alcorn State, and had a pompom tied to her walker. She has relatives who eventually joined her beloved Braves, where McNair made a Heisman Trophy run and set a number of NCAA Division I-AA records before going third overall in the NFL draft in 1995 to the then-Houston Oilers.
"Alcornites to me are a different breed of people," she said. "It's like a family. If you do something, we'll support you."