BALTIMORE—The University of Maryland football team had to deal with a painful loss last week.
Jordan McNair, a 6-foot-4, 325-pound lineman who played one game in 2017 during his first year, died on June 13 after being hospitalized following an organized team workout on May 29, according to a school statement. McNair played high school football at McDonogh in Owings Mills.
McNair’s death clearly hurt the football program. Executive Athletic Director Damon Evans said in a statement after McNair’s passing last week.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of our student-athletes, sophomore football player Jordan McNair,” Evans said in the statement. “Jordan was a tremendous athlete, student, teammate and friend and he will be sorely missed. We offer our deepest condolences to his parents, family and friends. For those who had the opportunity to know Jordan, you understand the sadness we are feeling.”
Maryland Coach DJ Durkin also issued a statement expressing similar sentiments, saying they were heartbroken over the death of McNair and how much he meant to the team.
Durkin said in the statement that McNair worked hard and had a great personality along with plenty of enthusiasm.
“He was an extremely talented football player and a humble and genuine human being; he embodied the essence of what it means to be a teammate,” Durkin said in his statement. “Jordan was a fighter. Our team will continue to be inspired by the spirit of this brave fighter.”
The Baltimore Sun reported that Maryland’s football team was not required to go to various activities since McNair died on June 13, and the time frame for the future was not certain as of the end of last week.
However, the team tried to mourn its fallen teammate in its own way. The Sun reported that as of the afternoon of June 15, a bunch of white candles had been put into place signifying the No. 79—which would have been McNair’s number this season.
Those candles were placed in front of the Testudo that sits at the front of the Gossett Football Team House. The paper reported that red, yellow and white flowers laying in place on both sides of the candles.
The death of McNair clearly touched Durkin as he spoke to the media on June 14.
“My heart is broken for the reason that we’re all sitting here, having this press conference,” Durkin said, according to The Baltimore Sun. “You look for reasons. It’s not reasonable that a 19-year old should pass away. It’s not reasonable that a family, parents – his parents, Marty [McNair] and Tonya [Wilson], should never have to go through this.”
Information has yet to be released on the cause of death; however, there has been speculation. ESPN.com reported that a GoFundMe page was created for his mother, and information there said McNair had been airlifted to the Shock Trauma Center Baltimore and received a liver transplant and was “fighting for his life this past week.”