QB game-time decision vs. Jags

Updated: October 2, 2004, 2:58 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Steve McNair stretched and ran Friday, but he didn't throw any passes. Yet he's looking healthy enough that Tennessee coach Jeff Fisher won't rule him out against San Diego.

Steve McNair
Quarterback
Tennessee Titans
Profile
2004 SEASON STATISTICS
Att Comp PaTD RuTD Int Rat
79 50 1 1 2 74.3

After the quarterback bruised his sternum in last week's 15-12 loss to the Jaguars, sending him to the hospital for two nights, Fisher said he didn't think McNair would be able to play against the Chargers.

Fisher said Friday that McNair has "improved significantly."

"We are going to have a walkthrough out there tomorrow, and we will see how he is tomorrow," Fisher said.

The Tennessee Titans quarterback knows that working through the pain can inspire his young teammates.

"If they see their leader moping around in the locker room, they're going to mope," McNair said. "If they see a leader out there, going out busting his butt, doing everything in practice and in a game to win in the ball game, they'll make the same sacrifice and do the same thing."

That's why even though McNair officially is listed as questionable for Sunday's game with the San Diego Chargers (1-2), coach Jeff Fisher won't rule out his quarterback playing.

McNair said he wasn't sure if he will play and that it depends on how he feels Sunday.

"It's still hard to breathe, take a deep breath. That's my main concern. If I have to scramble, if I have to go out and come back, can I call the play? That's the main objective in running, trying to get the cardio back up," McNair said.

McNair bruised his sternum Sunday late in the fourth quarter diving for a first down on third-and-2 in the loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The ball was against his chest when Jaguars tackle Marcus Stroud landed on top of him.

McNair said he realized he was hurt when he returned to the line of scrimmage for the next play -- thankfully a handoff to Chris Brown, who scored for a 12-7 lead. McNair knew it was serious when he badly overthrew Derrick Mason on a 2-point conversion.

"You never see me overthrow that bad," McNair said.

He watched the rest of the game from the sideline, then sat in the trainer's room for more than an hour trying to catch his breath. Doctors decided to send him to the hospital for more tests as a precaution because he had some internal bleeding when he had the same injury in September 2000.

"It was a scary moment for me and everybody," McNair said.

The quarterback has missed only four starts since 2000, and it sounds like he doesn't want to miss Sunday's game with the Titans (1-2) struggling.

"We haven't played good ball. We haven't finished a ball game yet even with the win against Miami. We still haven't finished a ball game yet. That's a question mark for this team," he said Thursday.

"Everyone says this is an important game. Absolutely, this is an important game. We don't want to go 1-3."

The Titans also may have their best deep threat on the field for the first time this season. Tyrone Calico, who hasn't played this season because of sprained knees, has looked better the past two days and likely will play Sunday.

The 2003 league co-MVP pointed out he has a capable backup in Billy Volek.

"They show a lot of man free. They're not going to give you two deep often. This is a test of the receivers winning one-on-one battles, and I think Billy can handle that," McNair said.


Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press

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