Sophomore center Johnny Jordan and junior offensive lineman Ellis McKennie both listed plans to honor McNair’s memory Monday morning in a joint statement that lasted about three minutes. The team will hold a moment of silence for McNair during home games against Texas and Temple in September, and each player will wear helmet stickers bearing McNair’s No. 79 uniform number, which will also be retired by the team through the end of McNair’s eligibility in 2021. Maryland also plans to name its offensive line meeting room in the team’s facility after McNair and encase his locker in glass. The school will also create a scholarship fund in his name.
“We come here today as University of Maryland football players to change the conversation. It’s time to get back to what is important, and that is honoring our fallen friend, brother and teammate, Jordan McNair. The moment we stop saying his name, the moment that we begin to forget, his legacy will begin to fade. We plan to have his legacy live on forever,” McKennie said.
The school’s Board of Regents announced Friday that it would assume oversight into the investigations and will launch its own commission to probe the broader culture of the football program, which has already led to the school placing head coach DJ Durkin on administrative leave and prompted the resignation of head strength coach Rick Court.
Matt Canada, the team’s offensive coordinator, took over as interim head coach after Durkin was placed on leave Aug. 11. Canada spoke to the media for the first time last week, introducing a slew of new safety measures at practice, including new hydration tents and increased mandatory breaks. Canada briefly introduced McKennie, who attended high school with McNair at McDonogh in Baltimore, along with Jordan, who was a part of McNair’s recruiting class in 2017.
“Since Jordan’s passing, we have been grieving and mourning in our own way, together. Our football players have spent a lot of time trying to decide the best way to honor Jordan and his memory,” Canada said in a statement.
Jordan and McKennie did not take questions after making their announcement Monday. Maryland was expected to open a half-hour of practice to reporters later Monday afternoon, but neither Canada nor players plan to speak.