Stewart hopes Bears let him run wild

LAKE FOREST _ The Bears officially signed <!--Default NodeId For Kordell Stewart is 664678,2003--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:664678]>Kordell Stewart</A> to his $5 million deal Friday, and now they have to figure out what to do with him.

Stewart promised to continue scrambling and "being me." The Bears have little experience in their offense with this type of player, but coaches said they're willing to learn.

"Like any offense, when you have an athlete like Kordell, you want to take advantage of all of the things that he does," Bears coach Dick Jauron said. "So we'll definitely design things that play to his strengths and eliminate anything that doesn't play to his strengths."

Jauron said offensive coordinator John Shoop has looked at two or more tapes of Stewart each of the last 10 days to get a better feel for how to alter the Bears' offense to fit a mobile quarterback.

In the tapes, Jauron said coaches saw a "disciplined player," who runs only when necessary.

"Now he's a good enough athlete that when things do break down in the course of a play, a designed play, he can make something happen when nothing is there," Jauron said. "That's the type of player you want, particularly at the quarterback position. So we'll spend a lot of time structuring the offense to take advantage of his strengths."

Stewart has never played in a West Coast offense. He's been more of a seven-step drop passer who ran for 2,561 yards and 35 touchdowns in Pittsburgh.

So plenty of revisions will need to be made to an offense that relied on slow-moving quarterbacks Jim Miller, Shane Matthews and Chris Chandler the past few years. The idea is to get Stewart on the perimeter, throwing naked bootleg passes, running quarterback draws or just adlibbing.

The quarterback position, Stewart said, has to be handled very sensitively by an offensive coordinator when he has a scrambler. So Shoop will have to be cognizant of not overcoaching his new weapon.

"You can't tell him what to do," Stewart said of quarterbacks in general. "You can teach him what he needs to do in practices. But in a game, you can't tell a guy not to run -- I mean, you can't do that, not if I'm capable of running."

Stewart heard fewer restraining voices in his final two years with the Steelers. He admits to getting fed up with them when he did hear them.

"And it got to the point where I became very irritated and frustrated with it," he said. "And I said, `to heck with it, you either have to sit me on the bench or you're going to understand that the way I play the game is all the way across the board. It's not one way -- that's not my style.' "

Stewart thinks of himself as a pioneer -- a black, running quarterback.

"I'm the Grandpap. I'm the Grandpap for the most part," Stewart said.

"Grandpap" sees the league fawning over Michael Vick and Donovan McNabb and experiences a mixture of envy and pride.

"I live in Atlanta, they love him to death -- I'm tired of seeing Michael Vick all over the place," Stewart joked.

He added, "And to see Michael Vick doing it now, to see Donovan McNabb doing it, that's what the game is all about. I'm not saying that the quarterbacks who sit in the pocket all day aren't good quarterbacks, because you find out they start scrambling and running, as well. Drew Bledsoe, Peyton Manning, I think he probably scored his first long touchdown last year in his career.

"You know, this game is evolving into being able to move in the pocket, man, move with some swiftness because you have guys on defense who are 260 pounds, 280 pounds, almost 300 pounds, who can run just as fast and their first step is probably quicker than yours."

It's bottom-line quarterbacking, not classical quarterbacking.

"At the end of the day that's what it's all about, man, whether black, white or indifferent," he said. "If you can move, God bless you because this league is turning to be such a fast game. And whoever is trying to stop guys from moving and running around in the pocket, you're nuts."

Stewart anticipates no more beers poured over his head or disrespectful rumors about his sexuality, like he endured in Pittsburgh. He wants and anticipates respect.

"Just to see (Vick) getting it done and being appreciated in that city, that's the opportunity that I wanted to have happen for me.

"And being here in Chicago, I feel that's the way it's going to be."

Stewart has already experienced some of that adulation from fans in the street, human and otherwise. He said fans everywhere in Chicago have treated him well, and a dog he saw walking in front of the Hilton even stopped and barked softly at him, as if in recognition.

"So I kind of give him the nod and he keeps walking," Stewart said. "I'm kind of figuring everybody is kind of letting me know this is an all right thing to be a part of. So I'm sitting here saying to myself, that's all right man, that's all right. So it's just a matter of time."

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