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Steelers Bears first to offer Stewart contract

Sunday, March 09, 2003

By The Associated Press

LAKE FOREST, Ill. -- The Chicago Bears have made a contract offer to free-agent quarterback Kordell Stewart, according to published reports.

The Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times reported yesterday that the Bears made a proposal to Stewart's California-based agent, Leigh Steinberg, Friday night.

Steinberg also said Stewart received an offer from the Arizona Cardinals. Rod Graves, the Cardinals' vice president for football operations, has said he is negotiating with Steinberg.

Bears spokesman Scott Hagel said yesterday he could not confirm that a contract offer had been made.

Stewart -- the former Steelers starter who lost his job last year to Tommy Maddox -- was one of three quarterbacks to visit the Bears this week, joining Jake Plummer and Jeff Blake. Plummer, though, signed with the Denver Broncos.

Chicago has a quarterback vacancy after releasing veteran Jim Miller, another former Steeler, last week.

Before becoming the Steelers' starter in 1997, Stewart was known as "Slash," a multidimensional threat who could make plays as a quarterback, running back and receiver.

As a quarterback, he was brilliant at times and erratic at others. Stewart led the Steelers to two AFC title games, but he threw three interceptions in both losses.

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