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One thing you can count on with the Detroit Lions is that they are never, ever boring. Follow the latest news including injuries, roster moves and more here daily from Oakland Press beat writer Paula Pasche. Plus you'll find regular commentary about the team.


So long, Air

Steve 'Air' McNair died this weekend, killed by gunshots early into his retirement. While police and investigators are sorting out what happened to him and a lady friend, I looked back at how he ended up in Tennessee.

The former Alcorn State star was the third-overall pick in 1995 by the Houston Oilers, who would later move to Tennessee, first to Memphis for a temporary year and then Nashville, where he would lead the Titans to the brink of an NFL championship. But the pass came up 1 yard short, there was no OT, and the Rams went on to glory. McNair retired from Baltimore, respected but not a champion.

The Lions have missed many good opportunities on draft day, but the 1995 draft was not one of them. Sure, they could have gotten Ty Law or Derrick Brooks, but they drafted Luther Ellis in the first round with the 20th pick. Ellis had a pretty decent career in Detroit, before leaving for Denver, and he was well-liked both on and off the field. They missed a chance at the bust of Rashaan Salaam, who went to Chicago with the 21st pick.

And thinking of 1995, that was a decent draft year for the team, as they picked up David Sloan (3rd), Stephen Boyd (5th), and Cory Schlesinger (6th) in the later rounds. But they didn't get the game-changer or franchise leader like McNair. Too bad they were down 51-7 in Philly in the playoffs before anyone was ready to make some plays, following 1994's 16-12 playoff defeat in Green Bay.

What were once considered troublesome years by Lions fans now look like the Golden Age. It's just that, by squeaking by into the playoffs, they missed the chance to sign a player who could have made a real difference like McNair.

Of course, what would his career have been like in Detroit? — Stephen Frye


Anonymous Anonymous said...

REALLY!!! that's how you end your story?....what kind of a heartless idiot are you?....what would he have been like as a Lion?.....How bout the facts, and that he was a great QB and will be idiots still don't have a clue how do write do you....goodbye....I am DONE with this crap site....

9:50 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous (#1), you're a knob!

12:23 AM 
Blogger Stephen Frye said...

That's fine 9:50, but I also wonder how he would have done in Cincinnati, and would the Bengals have avoided prepping the basement for the Lions if they had drafted him instead of the one-drive Ki-Jana Carter.
And yeah, it's too bad he got shot to death, just as when anyone is shot to death.

4:29 PM 

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