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Kordell Stewart Says the NFL Wasn’t Ready for Him



Steelers QB Kordell Stewart

Former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart was ahead of his time in the 1990s. If he played about 15 years later, he would have been utilized a lot better. In today’s game, his dual-threat abilities certainly would flourish.

Stewart was a pioneer of the modern day dual-threat quarterback.

“You know the stubborn side of me says they weren’t ready for me, but I was ready for the game,” Stewart told Rob King of in a recent interview. “That’s the stubborn side, but being that I was kind of like that minority, if you will, figuratively speaking in the sense that not too many were doing it that way, yeah, I was a little ahead of my time. We had two good coaches that could make it work. They understood how to work with my skill set, which was unconventional at the time.”

Stewart, who was drafted in the second round of the 1995 NFL Draft by the Steelers, was held back due to the instability at offensive coordinator. From 1995-2002, he had five different offensive coordinators — Ron Erhardt, Chan Gailey, Ray Sherman, Kevin Gilbride and Mike Mularkey.

“The unfortunate thing I will say about my time starting from ’97 until the latter part of it, in six years I had four different coordinators. So the continuity was a little tough. You know, you get Kevin Gilbride with a run and shoot system with Jerome Bettis, who is a power runner, and Plaxico Burress and Hines Ward; we’re not a run and shoot team. It had none of the stuff they came up with later for mobile quarterbacks, but more of a traditional style quarterback.”

Stewart passed for 13,328 yards and 70 touchdowns with 72 interceptions as a Steeler, while also rushing for 2,561 yards and 35 scores. Stewart led the Steelers to a pair of AFC Championship games, and was named a Pro Bowler in 2001. He finished fourth in League MVP voting in 2001.