Steeler Nation’s own, G Stryker hosted Kordell Stewart for a special exclusive interview with the former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback. Stewart played for the Steelers for eight seasons, including Super Bowl XXX as a rookie at wide receiver. His exploits earned him the nickname “Slash” and after two seasons as a gadget player, he spent the better part of the next five seasons as the Steelers quarterback.
Stewart led the Steelers to two AFC Championship games during his tenure as the signal-caller. His first year as a starter in 1997, he flashed tantalizing skills as a quarterback leading the team all the way to a date with the Denver Broncos at Three Rivers Stadium. Stewart had torched the Broncos a month earlier to earn home field advantage for the Steelers, but after throwing three interceptions and enduring one of the most infuriating moments in Steeler History, he fell just short at 24-21 in his quest to lead the team to the Super Bowl.
The next few seasons were marked by inconsistent play, being benched multiple times, and losing records. His final season as a full-time starter in 2001 saw a more conservative version of Stewart, lead the black and gold to a 13-3 record and a date with the New England Patriots in the AFC Championship game. Once again, he threw three interceptions and Pittsburgh fell 24-17. After starting the following season 2-3, he relinquished the starting role to Tommy Maddox and after the season, Stewart signed with the Chicago Bears.
His tenure in the late 1990’s was marked by several quarterback competitions and controversies. He gave way to Kent Graham, Mike Tomczak and Maddox, so if any person on the planet can give insight into the current Steelers situation with their signal-callers, it is Stewart. Stryker asked the former QB what his thoughts were on the current state of the Pittsburgh quarterback room:
“I like Mitchell Trubisky just from a veteran leadership standpoint. I’m not going to say what he deserves because I think his play in the preseason will determine what he deserves, but it wouldn’t hurt if that direction were to go with a Mitchell Trubisky. Because to throw Kenny [Pickett] in there right now, I think you’re buying that he is the future starting right now.”
Stewart, the former ESPN analyst, believes that the best chance for the Steelers to win is to trust the veteran leadership that Trubisky can provide while Pickett has a chance to learn the nuance of the position at the NFL level. Earlier in the interview, Stewart recalled that his time during his first two seasons observing Neil O’Donnell, Jim Miller and Tomczak helped him succeed when he finally took over the position in 1997:
“I mentioned the term ‘rebuild,’” Stewart tells Stryker. “The Steelers never mention that term. They do a very good job of being able to play both sides of the fence by bringing in someone like a Mitch Trubisky, and hopefully he can catch on and give Pickett the opportunity to learn.”
Stewart, who is starting his own podcast on the BLEAV Network called On the Edge With Slash, does not believe that the Steelers first round draft pick can’t win the starting job as a rookie. He has faith that if Mike Tomlin taps Pickett to be the starting quarterback, it will be because they believe he gives them the best chance to win:
“If they go with Pickett, it justifies why they got him at the 20th pick overall,” Stewart continues. “So, they can have their cake and eat it too when it comes to how they went about their business in this quarterbacking carousel.”
The former Steelers Pro Bowler is confident that Pittsburgh has put itself in a position to succeed with either quarterback. Both players add the dimension of mobility, which is something Stewart knows can be a quarterback’s best friend if used correctly. He is confident that whatever call that Coach Tomlin makes, it will be what he believes gives the team the best chance to win.
Need the NFL to bring this back, give me Mahomes, Rodgers. Allen, Zach Wilson and Herbert and whoever else to just launch nukes pic.twitter.com/g0YJNAgD2g
— Will Parkinson (@Willpa11) January 14, 2022
What do you think, Steeler Nation? Do you agree with Stewart that Trubisky starting is best for the team? Or do you want the future to start now with Pickett? Please comment below or on my Twitter @thebubbasq.