Kordell Stewart Finally Retires as a Steeler

Stewart Signs 1 Day Contract

Kordell Stewart finally gets his wish – to retire as a Steeler.   Kordell Stewart

From the Los AngelesTimes

For Kordell Stewart, it was the end of an era Wednesday when he retired from the NFL as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Pretty much everyone else thought that era had ended a long time ago. Stewart hadn’t played for the Steelers in 10 years and hasn’t been on any team’s roster since 2005. He has even moved on to work as a football analyst for ESPN.

But he never was quite ready to file his retirement papers. After his father died in March, however, Stewart wanted some closure in other parts of his life. So he decided it was time to officially retire from the NFL — and he wanted to do it as a member of the team with which he experienced plenty of ups and downs.

“This where it all started, this where all my success was,” Stewart said on Wednesday just before signing a one-day contract with the Steelers. “This was the closure I wanted to have and needed to have with my career.”

Stewart was the toast of the town in his first few years with the Steelers. Although technically a backup quarterback, Stewart earned the nickname “Slash” for his versatility on the field. He had 11 touchdowns in his first two seasons — six rushing, four receiving and one passing — and helped the team advance to the Super Bowl after the 1995 season. Then he moved into the starting quarterback position in his third year and led the Steelers to the AFC championship game.

But many fans eventually turned on Stewart, whose inconsistent play contributed to three consecutive seasons without a playoff appearance. After enduring their wrath — which even included death threats — Stewart turned it around again with a career year in 2001, leading the Steelers to a 13-3 record and earning a Pro Bowl nod.

That all came to a crashing halt with a three-interception performance in a loss to the New England Patriots in the AFC championship game. He lost his starting job to Tommy Maddox during the following season, his eighth and last with the Steelers.

Stewart says he has put all of the negative aspects of his time in Pittsburgh behind him and that he knew there was only one place where he wanted to officially end his playing career.

“Being here in this city, a lot of great things happened,” Stewart said. “All the other stuff was just a part of the game.”

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