The student-athletes from the University of Maryland football team on Monday announced their plans to honor fallen teammate Jordan McNair.
As players lined up in an end zone at Cole Field House, Maryland interim head coach Matt Canada and two student-athletes stepped to the forefront.
Ellis McKennie, a junior offensive lineman, and Johnny Jordan, a sophomore offensive lineman, thanked the community for their support of the Maryland football team and outlined the details of how they plan to honor McNair during the 2018 campaign.
“The moment that we stop saying his name, the moment we begin to forget, his legacy will begin to fade,” said McKennie, who attended McNair’s alma mater, McDonogh School in Owings Mills. “But we plan to have his legacy live on forever. We plan to never forget. This season, Jordan’s spirit will live within each and every one of us. Every play we make, every snap we take, will be in Jordan’s honor.”
The student-athletes have dedicated the 2018 season to McNair’s memory and chosen the following initiatives:
A scholarship for a Maryland football student-athlete will be named after his memory.
The offensive line room in the newly-renovated Cole Field House will be named after him.
McNair’s locker in the Gossett Football Team House will be encased in glass with a gameday set-up displaying his jersey inside.
There will be a moment of silence in his honor observed before the season opener against Texas on Sept. 1 at FedEx Field and the home opener against Temple on Sept. 15.
No member of the Maryland football team will be permitted to wear McNair’s No. 79 jersey through his graduation year and he will be honored with his class on senior day in 2020.
Members of the team will wear a helmet sticker to recognize McNair throughout the season.
“Jordan was one of the best friends, teammates and roommates anyone can ask for,” said Johnny Jordan. “He was a gentle giant, and we, as a team, will continue to carry on his legacy through this season and far beyond.”
McNair, a 19-year-old offensive lineman, died on June 13 after being hospitalized following a workout on May 29. The cause of death was ruled as heatstroke.
During a news conference on campus last week, University of Maryland President Wallace Loh and Athletic Director Damon Evans accepted responsibility for McNair’s death.
Maryland head coach DJ Durkin was placed on paid administrative leave and Terrapins strength and conditioning coach Rick Court parted ways with the university after reaching a cash settlement.
A recent ESPN report last week cited a “toxic culture” within the Maryland football program.
The situation at the University of Maryland has sparked public debate across the country and the independent review surrounding the circumstances of McNair’s death is ongoing.
“I think it’s very sad that a young athlete had to lose his life doing something he loved,” said Irvin Smith, a former University of Maryland defensive back who played at Poolesville High School in the early 1980s. “I hope that this can be a learning moment for all colleges and university athletic sports programs. Also all staff including coaches should know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and stroke. I hope the people responsible are held accountable.”