Declares For 1995 Nfl Draft
Stewart declared for the 1995 NFL draft as a quarterback despite suggestions from pro scouts that he would probably enhance his chances for an early pick if he signaled a willingness to play other positions. Stewart refused to do so and was selected by the Steelers in the second round of the draft. Although he was hopeful of getting a shot as starting quarterback, Stewart was listed as fourth-string quarterback after the end of the exhibition season. After sitting out the first few games of the 1995 season, Stewart was put to work by coach Cowher at three different positions on offense—quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. Cowher's decision to utilize Stewart's versatility paid dividends for the Steelers, who finished the 1995 season with a record of 11-5 and faced off against the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXX. Despite an impressive performance by Stewart, the Steelers fell to the Cowboys, 27-17.
During his second season with the Steelers, Stewart still was used sparingly at quarterback, passing for only 100 yards. He rushed for 171 yards and five touchdowns and was selected as an alternate for the Pro Bowl. Before the 1997 season began, coach Cowher made it clear that Stewart would be starting as quarterback. Stewart proved himself equal to the task, passing for a total of 3,020 yards and 17 touchdowns to lead the Steelers to the AFC Central Division title. Pittsburgh went on to lose narrowly, 24-21, to the Denver Broncos in the AFC Championship game.
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