Stewart Released

The Kordell Stewart saga has finally come to an end, as the Steelers released their former starting quarterback in order to get under the salary cap.

There had been speculation after the season ended that the Steelers would try to trade their former Pro Bowl quarterback. But that would have been nearly impossible, considering the team needs to be under the salary cap by Friday, which also happens to be the first day the Steelers would be able to deal Stewart. And considering Stewart has a base salary of $6.3 million next season and the Steelers are about $2 million over next year's cap of $74.8 million, releasing Stewart is the easiest way to get under the cap.

Despite what many think, Stewart will be a hot commodity on the open market, with as many as three or four teams lining up to sign him.

Just two seasons ago, he was a Pro Bowl quarterback who, twice in his career, led the Steelers to the AFC Championship. That he no longer fits into the Steelers' plans is not indicative of Stewart's talent. The team's strength is its wide receivers, not the offensive line and running backs as had been the case for many years.

Stewart will never be a great passer, but he's a quarterback who can win with a solid running game - something he enhances with his scrambling.

That said, the Chicago Bears, who are looking for a quarterback to compete with oft-injured Jim Miller, could be a perfect spot for Stewart.

And wouldn't that be poetic justice, since both quarterbacks began their careers with the Steelers. Too bad the Bears don't play in Pittsburgh next season.

Seeing Stewart come to Heinz Field against the Steelers will eventually be something special.

Many will boo their favorite scapegoat, but before they do, they should realize Stewart always gave 100 percent on the football field. He wanted to win as badly as anyone. Maybe it didn't always happen, but with Stewart starting, the Steelers won a lot more games than they lost.

And given the treatment he received from some of the "fans", it would have been easy for him to pack it in. Instead, Stewart behaved like a professional and kept his dignity.

As somebody who was there from the beginning of the Slash phase to the troubled times to his re-emergence in 2001 and benching in 2002, I can say this about Stewart, he always gave us something to talk about, both good and bad.

Having seen live and in person every NFL game he's played in, I know just how good - and how bad - Stewart can be. Here's hoping he goes elsewhere and has more good days than bad.

Dale Lolley

Steel City Insider Top Stories