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Former QB Stewart retires as a Steeler

| Wednesday, May 30, 2012, 6:56 p.m.
Former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart speaks to the media on the South Side May 30, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart speaks to the media on the South Side May 30, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review
Former Steelers quarterback Kordell Stewart speaks to the media on the South Side May 30, 2012. Chaz Palla | Tribune Review

At peace with his star-crossed Steelers career, Kordell Stewart got the closure he had been seeking Wednesday.

Stewart returned to Pittsburgh yesterday and announced his retirement as a Steeler at the team's South Side headquarters.

Stewart experienced just about everything here from popularizing the “Slash” running back/receiver/returner role and playing in a Super Bowl to losing his starting quarterback job several times and enduring withering fan criticism.

Stewart said he even received death threats while playing for the Steelers from 1995-02 but added that the overall experience was a good one.

“I never really knew how strong I was until I had to deal with some of those things,” said Stewart after an offseason practice. “When things are tough, I just get a little bit tougher. Being here in this city, a lot of great things happened, and all of the other stuff was just part of the game.”

Stewart last played in 2005 as a backup for the Ravens, but he had stayed in shape while working for ESPN as an NFL analyst in case he got a call. Stewart, whose 13,328 passing yards are third most in Steelers history, played a season in Chicago while Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley was the Bears' wide receivers coach.

Stewart said Haley will be good for Ben Roethlisberger as long as the Steelers quarterback embraces the change that has come with a new offensive coordinator.

“I think the best thing Ben can do is to work together and know that Rome wasn't built in a day. It's going to take some time, and of course, after winning championships and going to championships, you want to get it done right now, you want to be comfortable right now,” said Stewart, who is 39 and lives in Atlanta with his wife and son. “I think once they find a rhythm amongst each other, I think things will be a little bit smoother.

“You can't win a championship right now, so all of the bickering and crying and yelling and complaining and screaming, (the offseason) is the time to do it, so when it's game time, you come together as a family. This is what's supposed to happen right now for Ben and coach Haley and this organization because of change.”

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