Quarterback Kordell Stewart was in Pittsburgh today and officially announced his retirement from football. Stewart took his last snap under center for the Baltimore Ravens back in 2005 and his retirement today, seven years after his last snap in the NFL, seems to have been an effort by him to get some kind of closure.
The man that was affectionately nicknamed Slash, because of his ability to pass, run and receive, was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 2nd round (60th overall) of the 1995 NFL Draft out of the University of Colorado. He started just 4 games for the Steelers during his first two years in the league and he became the full-time starter in 1997. He led the Steelers to an 11-5 regular season record that year as he threw for 3,020 yards and 21 touchdowns. In addition to his passing, Stewart rushed 88 times for 476 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Although it wasn\’t pretty, the Steelers beat the New England Patriots in the Divisional round of the playoffs 7-6 to advance to the AFC Championship game against the Denver Broncos in 1997. Stewart went 18-of-36 in the game against the Broncos and that included 3 interceptions and just 1 touchdown pass and the Steelers lost the game 24-21.
Stewart would not lead the Steelers to the playoffs again until 2001, a season that saw him pass for 3,109 yards and just 14 passing touchdowns to go along with 11 interceptions. He chipped in another 537 yards rushing that season on 96 attempts as Pittsburgh went on to compile a 13-3 regular season record. In the playoffs the Steelers beat the Ravens 27-10 in the Divisional round on just 154 yards passing by Stewart. In the subsequent AFC Championship game against the Patriots, Stewart was 24-of-42 passing for 255 yards, but had 3 interceptions as the Patriots went on to win 24-17 and advance to the Super Bowl.
Stewart began the 2002 season as the Steelers starting quarterback, but he was eventually replaced by Tommy Maddox. He was released at the end of the 2002 season. During his time in Pittsburgh he compiled a 46-29 record as a starter and passed for 13,328 yards to go along with 70 touchdown passes and 72 interceptions. He rushed for a total of 2,561 yards while in Pittsburgh and had an additional 35 rushing touchdowns.
In 2003 he played for the Chicago Bears where he started just 7 games. The next two seasons were spent with the Ravens where he did not start and saw very limited playing time.
During his talks with media on Wednesday, Stewart said that he received death threats during his playing days in Pittsburgh, but that he\’s not bitter about it. He also talked about his time with the Bears, where new offensive coordinator Todd Haley was the receivers coach at that time. Stewart said that Haley is a passionate coach that is all about his players, and only them. He thinks that Haley and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger will end up working well together.
Following his playing days Stewart has worked as an NFL analyst on ESPN.