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The Washington Times
The Maryland football team will honor late teammate Jordan McNair in the 2018 season and beyond.
The team wears No. 79 stickers on its helmets, referencing McNair's jersey number, and will effectively retire the number for as long as McNair would have played for the Terrapins. No Maryland player will wear No. 79 until 2021, the season after McNair would have graduated.
Terrapins players gathered Monday at Cole Field House in College Park to reveal the tributes they chose to honor McNair, who died on June 13, two weeks after suffering a heatstroke at an offseason team workout.
Since then, an ESPN investigative report into the football program led to the school putting coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave and an investigation into the allegedly harmful culture under Durkin. University president Wallace D. Loh said at a news conference Tuesday that Maryland took "legal and moral responsibility" for McNair's death.
Not long after, however, the University System of Maryland Board of Regents held a special, closed meeting to discuss the fallout, including potential litigation and "personnel matters." Some believe the futures of Loh, Durkin and athletic director Damon Evans at Maryland hang in the balance.
Former Terrapins and NFL quarterback Boomer Esiason, now a syndicated radio host for CBS Sports, was the latest to speak out Monday. Esiason told his listeners he was disgusted by the "shameful lack of leadership" from Loh and Evans and suggested both should be shown the door.
In the meantime, players were allowed to decide how the program will honor McNair's memory. In addition to the sticker and the reserving of his number, the team will encase McNair's locker in glass and move it to Cole Field House as a memorial, and the offensive line meeting room will be named in McNair's honor.
The football program will also endow a scholarship in his name, and moments of silence will be observed before both Maryland's season opener Sept. 1 against Texas at FedEx Field and Maryland's first game at Capital One Field, Sept. 15 against Temple.
Ellis McKennie, a fellow offensive lineman who went to high school with McNair at McDonogh School near Baltimore, said McNair was a "dreamer" who would do anything for his teammates.
"The moment that we stop saying his name, the moment we begin to forget, his legacy will begin to fade. But we plan to have his legacy live on forever," McKennie said. "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."
McNair's former roommate, Johnny Jordan, called him "a gentle giant."
"We, as a team, will continue to carry on his legacy through this season and far beyond," Jordan said.
Players were not made available to answer questions from the media.
Only 11 days remain before the Terrapins open their season against Texas on Sept. 1 at FedEx field in Landover.
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