Offensive tackle Jon Runyan will largely be remembered for his remarkable run protecting Donovan McNabb in Philadelphia, but he actually started his career with the Houston Oilers in 1996. Steve McNair, who was tragically shot head this past Sunday, was drafted in 1995 by Houston, but didn’t become the full time starter until 1997, the same year that Runyan also assumed full-time starting duties at right tackle. The two were both All Pro caliber performers and as you’ll hear in the following interview, had a strong friendship and a healthy amount of respect for each other on and off the field. Runyan joined WIP in Philadelphia Monday to talk about the shocking news of McNair’s passing and to reflect on his relationship with his former teammate and friend.
On the way McNair played the game:
“You had to really respect the way the guy played the game because there’s not a lot of people who played that position played it the way he did…Fisher got on him for a couple of years. He was like, “You need to back off with that stuff because we need you on the field, we don’t need you in the training room.”…I remembered quite a few games that he probably shouldn’t have been out there. He hadn’t practice in a month and he’s out there having career games. It’s just amazing the pain tolerance the guy had and the stuff he put his body through to actually go out there and perform every week.”
On how McNair’s willingness to play through pain and injuries rubbed off on teammates:
“He has the skills and all that kind of thing. I think the leadership came through the way he played the game and how he threw his body around. He was putting it all out there. He wasn’t worried about the next play, he was trying to make it happen that time. You really had to respect that and kind of jump on board with that and play that way.”
On the tragedy of the whole situation:
“It’s a tough situation. It’s unfortunate that it had to happen like that. It doesn’t sound like it’s a perfect situation and there’s a lot of things to still be discovered. It’s a terrible loss because he’s a really, really good guy.”