NFL News of November 27, 2003

The Jets had seen the videotape of Tennessee Titans quarterback Steve McNair clutching his right calf in pain, and they shrugged. Opponents have seen McNair sustain injuries before. They have read the injury reports, only to watch McNair, one of the N.F.L.’s toughest players, emerge from the tunnel before a game and beat them after spending days in the trainer’s room.

So when McNair, who strained his calf against the Falcons on Sunday, was upgraded to questionable on the Titans’ injury report Wednesday, it removed nearly all doubt in the Jets’ minds that they would face him Monday night at Giants Stadium, even if the Titans insisted that they would wait until game time before deciding whether he could play.

”If they didn’t cut off his right arm, I’m sure he’s going to be out there,” Jets defensive tackle Jason Ferguson said.

McNair is a contender for the league’s Most Valuable Player award whose imperviousness to pain has become part of National Football League lore. He will not practice this week. He is wearing a protective boot, although he is able to walk without it. He has full range of motion, Tennessee Coach Jeff Fisher said, and a magnetic resonance imaging test showed only minor damage to the muscle.

—Judy Battista, The New York Times “Jets Prepare as if McNair Will Play”

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