KSK is right: he probably could have played through this, too. The most haunting thing for us about the death of the country-strong, square-headed, and seemingly indestructible quarterback is teammate Eddie George's memory of him:
I will remember Steve's smile, his laugh, his ability to cook -- the man could cook -- and just the human being that he was.
Something about this is particularly affecting: that like his play on the field, his interactions with friends and family involved something as concrete as making food for them. If you've lost someone in life like this, their memory is hard to shake; it comes back with a smell, or a taste, or the sound of a clatter in the kitchen that the living may never completely disassociate from the memory of the departed. For those who enjoyed a meal with McNair up close and personal--or for those who watched him play a tough and brilliant brand of football from a distance--that seems to be a memory they are happy not to shake too quickly.
RIP, Hoss; you didn't deserve this.