Steve McNair's Life and Final Days before Mistress Took His Life at 36 — inside the NFL Star's Tragic End

Tennessee Titans’ late star Steve McNair is considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in NFL history. This year, it will be 11 years since a jealous girlfriend took his life and then hers barely one year after he retired from the NFL.

Steve McNair was at a crossroads in his life after officially retiring from football in 2008. According to friends and his wife, Mechelle McNair, he had been trying to find his path in life without playing the sport.

Steve McNair #9 of the Tennessee Titans plays against the Tennessee Titans December 18, 2005 at The Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee. | Photo: GettyImages

Steve McNair #9 of the Tennessee Titans plays against the Tennessee Titans December 18, 2005 at The Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee. | Photo: GettyImages

A TRAGIC ENDING

Initially, he told friends he was retiring from the NFL to spend more time with his four children. Two he had with Mechelle, and two he had before being married.

Jenni, who had also discovered that Steve was seeing another woman aside from her, then bought a gun.

“He wanted to watch his kids grow, and who wouldn’t want that as a man, as a guy that’s spent so many years dedicated to one sport that it kept (him) away from a lot of stuff,” Titans wide receiver Derrick Mason told USA Today.

Steve McNair, retired American football quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, August, 2007 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

Steve McNair, retired American football quarterback for the Baltimore Ravens, August, 2007 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

Steve opened a restaurant near the Tennessee State University campus to offer affordable meals for students and was proud of the work he was doing to help his community.

He was 36 years old the day that his girlfriend took his life in what police has described as a crime driven by jealousy.

His death left not only his family and friends in shock but also an entire community that couldn’t wrap their heads around what had taken place in the first place.

Steve McNair #9 of the Tennessee Titans looks on against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on October 9, 2005 in Houston, Texas | Photo: GettyImages

Steve McNair #9 of the Tennessee Titans looks on against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on October 9, 2005 in Houston, Texas | Photo: GettyImages

STEVE MCNAIR’S EARLY LIFE

Steve was born in Mount Olive, Mississippi, on February 14, 1973. He was one of five children born to Lucille and Selma McNair.

Steve attended Mount Olive High School, where he was a talented baseball and football player. By the time he graduated, some major colleges had offered him a football scholarship. However, they wanted him as a running back.

He wasn’t interested in anything else that wasn’t the quarterback. So, he chose Alcorn State University, a Historically Black University, where he got to display his skills in that position.

In 1995, Steve was the third pick overall of the Houston Oilers in the 1995 NFL Draft, becoming the highest-drafted African-American quarterback in NFL history.

Two years later, the team moved to Tennessee, and in 1999, changed its name officially from Oilers to Titans.

Steve was the starting quarterback for the team until 2005, and although he missed some games because of injuries, he maintained a reputation as one of the best quarterbacks at the time.

He shared the NFL MVP titled in 2003 with Colts quarterback Peyton Manning and closed that season as the league leader in passer rating.

Steve played for the Baltimore Ravens during the last two seasons of his career in the NFL, from 2006 to 2007, and announced his retirement from professional football in April 2008.

STEVE MCNAIR’S LAST DAYS

Steve had been married to Mechelle McNair since 1997, and they shared two sons, Tyler and Trenton.

Steve was also the father of two older boys, Steve LaTreal McNair, Jr., and Steven O’Brian McNair, whom he welcomed with two other women before getting married.

Although Steve’s personal life seemed to mirror his professional one in being a success, the truth is that the late star was having extramarital affairs with several women.

One of the girls was a twenty-something waitress named Sahel Kazemi, also known as Jenni to her friends. They had met in a restaurant where she worked, and, after she gave him her number, they started dating.

Steve and Jenni had been together for about six months by the time Jenni realized she was drowning in debts from her $1000 a month rent, and payments from a Cadillac Steve had bought for her 20th birthday.

Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair watches play against the Denver Broncos Saturday December 25, 2004 at The Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee. | Photo: Getty Images)

Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair watches play against the Denver Broncos Saturday December 25, 2004 at The Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee. | Photo: Getty Images)

Two days before the fateful day, Jenni had been arrested for drunk driving, and although Steve was with her in the car, he was not charged. Eventually, he bailed her out.

Jenni, who had also discovered that Steve was seeing another woman aside from her, then bought a gun in a transaction made on the parking lot of her workplace. 

After receiving several text messages from Jenni on Friday night, Steve had kissed his sons’ goodnight and left his home to go see her.

Then, in the early hours of July 4, 2009, a pair of Steve’s friends found his and Jenni’s bodies in an apartment Steve owned and where he usually went with his mistresses.

Police eventually ruled Steve and Jenni’s deaths as a murder-suicide, with him being the victim and her the perpetrator.

STEVE MCNAIR’S WIFE AND KIDS

Mechelle McNair first heard the news on the television. She broke down in front of her kids, but when Tyler, then ten years old, claimed he couldn’t live without his dad, she realized she had to pull herself together.

She claimed she didn’t know about Jenni but said she was aware her husband wasn’t being faithful for a while back then. “At the end of the day, that’s my husband,” she said, and continued:

“I loved him. I still love him. He was human. He made a mistake. Nothing’s going to change how I feel about my husband.”

Mechelle found solace in knowing that, despite the way he left, Steve really loved his family and always took care of them.

Tyler, now 19, played basketball during his time at Brentwood Academy before finding his passion for dance and deciding he would pursue that dream and ditch the sport. He’s currently studying biology at NYU while still dancing.

His brother, Trent, on the other hand, is being focused on basketball. Although according to his mom, he has shown great potential as a quarterback, the teenager thinks no one can play the position as his father did.

Last year, the two brothers were honorary 12th Titans in a game against the Baltimore Ravens. And they were also present for the ceremony of jersey retirement of their dad’s number 9 by the Titans.

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