Nevermore

Our view: In Baltimore, quarterbacks get the pits or the pension

April 18, 2008

And so Baltimore's quarterback curse continues.

No doubt some are shocked by quarterback Steve McNair's abrupt decision to retire from professional football. He led a 13-3 Ravens team to the playoffs just two years ago. Sure, his 2007 performance was subpar, but that could be attributed to injuries he suffered early in the season. His teammates (and presumably the coaching staff) told reporters Wednesday that they expected him to attend this week's minicamp. He is, after all, only 35 years old.

"Right now, he looks great," said tight end Daniel Wilcox, who must say nice things about the departed's stylings at funerals, too.

But Ravens fans aren't surprised. They knew better. Baltimore is where quarterbacks go to end their careers. Young, old, it doesn't matter. Mr. McNair was just fortunate to get in a good 11 seasons with the Tennessee Titans before arriving in signal-caller Waterloo.

Scott Mitchell. Randall Cunningham. Elvis Grbac. Jeff Blake. Baltimore has claimed more victims than a George A. Romero zombie movie. The latest, a one-time NFL co-MVP, was simply less mediocre than most.

Two years ago, we offered Mr. McNair just one piece of advice upon his arrival: Make sure your insurance is paid up and you've got a second career to fall back on. We can only hope he was paying attention.

His departure leaves Kyle Boller, who's been walking dead for years now, and former Ohio State star Troy Smith, who has the Curse of the Heisman Trophy working for him, too.

Someone's got to stop this insanity before Charm City claims another innocent football player at the beginning, middle or end of his career. Beware, Matt Ryan, the NFL draft is only eight days away.

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