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McNair Won’t Start, Fisher Says

September 21, 2001

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) _ Titans quarterback Steve McNair could be healthy enough by Sunday to play against Jacksonville, but he will not start.

McNair watched Friday’s workout in tennis shoes and a sweat jacket and has not thrown a pass since his shoulder was injured in the Sept. 9 season-opening loss to Miami.

Coach Jeff Fisher said earlier in the week if McNair was unable to throw before Friday, Neil O’Donnell would start in Jacksonville. The Titans have put off for now deciding whether McNair can be O’Donnell’s backup Sunday.

``The decision we have now is whether he will be the No. 2 or No. 3 quarterback for us,″ Fisher said. ``Unless there’s a miracle between now and kickoff, it just doesn’t make sense to push him.″

Fisher said in recent days McNair has displayed improved strength and range of motion in his throwing arm.

If McNair is listed as the emergency third-string quarterback, Billy Volek would be O’Donnell’s backup. Volek, in his second pro season, has yet to throw a pass in a regular-season game.

O’Donnell is 5-1 as a starter since he signed with the Titans in 1999. He won four of five games during Tennessee’s 1999 AFC championship season, including a 20-19 victory at Jacksonville.

``Neil’s record as a starter speaks for itself, Fisher said. ``We just go on, that’s what this team does. Neil will direct the offense and put us in position to score.″

Last season, McNair missed only one start because of a bruised sternum. Late in the year he missed significant practice time but no game time after he sprained a knee and ankle in a victory over Philadelphia.

``This is just different from other weeks in the fact that I got more work,″ O’Donnell said. ``I’ve been doing this a long time. I always prepare myself to play.″

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