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Titans QB McNair will return this season

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 8, 2005) -- Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair said he will return for his 11th season after an injured sternum plagued him for most of 2004.

McNair initially got hurt in September, and wound up missing eight games. In December, McNair had surgery to graft a sliver of bone from his right hip onto his sternum to strengthen it. Doctors have been monitoring his recovery with periodic tests, and he was cleared to throw within the past 10 days.

"I am excited about coming back to play this season. I feel good physically. My sternum is healing," McNair said in a statement.

"I am in good shape, haven't had any problems throwing and expect to participate in some of the minicamps. I am looking forward to the season, being a leader for the younger guys and getting back to winning football games."

McNair had his worst season as a pro in 2004, a stark contrast to 2003 -- when he led the Titans to the playoffs and was NFL co-MVP with Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.

He first hurt his sternum in 2000, but re-injured his chest in the third game last season. He was in the hospital for two days, and he hurt himself again Nov. 28 in a loss to the Houston Texans. He didn't play in the Titans' final five games.

The pain made breathing difficult. McNair said after the Texans game he was tired of being unable to play with his son, and he would talk with his family about whether he should keep playing football.

McNair is the winningest quarterback in franchise history with 72 victories, two more than Warren Moon had with the then-Houston Oilers. McNair also leads all quarterbacks in rushing yards (3,300) and touchdowns (35) since the start of the 1995 season.

He is one of only five NFL quarterbacks with at least 20,000 yards passing and 3,000 yards rushing.

But the man who was the No. 3 pick overall in 1995 will be playing with a very different team this year.

The Titans, who went 5-11 last season, released six players in February in their attempt to slash millions off their salary cap. They also have a new offensive coordinator, Norm Chow, who was hired from Southern California.

AP NEWS
The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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