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Houston Texans

Where are they now: Steve McKinney


Center Steve McKinney, 33, was the first unrestricted free agent to be signed by the Texans.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This offseason will get back in touch with former Texans to find out what they're up to now in their post-NFL lives. Below is the first installment of our "Where are they now?" series.

Center Steve McKinney, 33, was the first unrestricted free agent to be signed by the Texans. McKinney, who was drafted in the fourth round by Indianapolis in 1998, joined the Texans in 2002 and started all 16 games at center in his first season with the team.

During his six-year career with the Texans, McKinney proved to be an anchor on the offensive line, bringing consistency to Houston's fledgling offense. He lined up at guard and center and started nearly every game before tearing his ACL in Week 3 of the 2007 season. He subsequently was placed on injured reserve and was released the following offseason.

{QUOTE}The Dolphins signed McKinney for training camp last year, but he didn't make the active roster. McKinney thought his playing days were over and last fall he settled into a life of fatherhood in Houston. McKinney had started coaching his daughter's first-grade basketball team when the Seattle Seahawks asked to sign him to replace guard Mike Wahle, who had gone on injured reserve.

"When I signed up to coach my daughter's team, I thought I was done with football," McKinney said. "Then, Seattle called me up for the last four weeks of the season, so we had one practice and then I had to take off."

McKinney's stint in Seattle closed the books on a highly productive 11-year pro career. Now, the Texas A&M alum is beginning a new chapter in his life, and it's already action-packed.

McKinney, a Galveston native, became a local media favorite during his Houston playing days, endearing himself to fans with his love for hunting, fishing and anything country. He has been able to parlay his affable persona into broadcast work and currently hosts a radio show called the Outdoor XL with Steve McKinney on The Ticket 97.5, which airs Sunday mornings from 5-7 a.m. McKinney also appears weekly on 1560 The Game with John Granado and Lance Zierlein.

"I think I will always be involved in radio in some capacity, even if it's just once a week," McKinney said. "I'm not sure if I will do it full time. I definitely enjoy doing it part time because you get a chance to interact with listeners and fans.

"I try not to be too boring on the air. The one thing people want to do when they listen on the radio is be entertained. You can take two approaches to that, whether it's trying to educate listeners or joke and entertain. I like to do both. I think there is a happy medium as well."

McKinney got a chance to further his broadcasting skills in January, joining SportsRadio 610's Marc Vandermeer to call the East-West Shrine Game.

"Calling the game felt like I had taken that next step from football," McKinney said. "I got good reviews. All the producers and the network that produced the show were very pleased with it and liked it a lot.

"The only thing I didn't like about it, it was so serious. I would make a few little comments or jokes, and they would look at me like, 'Why did you say that?' I remember making a comment about a punter after he punted the ball and it only went five yards. He shanked it, and I said, 'That kid just went from being a seventh-round draft pick to undrafted.' They looked at me like, 'You aren't supposed to say stuff like that.'"

When McKinney isn't entertaining fans on the airwaves, he is spending time with his three children. He has resumed his post as basketball coach, a position that lets him tap into his competitive side.

"I try to make it fun for them, so they don't take it too seriously," McKinney said. "But I will tell you that there was a game a couple of weeks ago where I got a little heated with the referee. I had to sit back and say, 'You look like one of those dads you always make fun of. You are taking a first-grade basketball game way too seriously.' As an athlete, you always want to win, but you want it even more when it's your kids out there."

McKinney isn't sure what his post-football career will hold, but he is trying to enjoy the journey.

"I'm not really sure what I want to do," McKinney said. "I often wonder: Is the stuff I'm doing now what I want to be doing or is there something more? But first and foremost, I want to make sure I'm having fun."

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