Kordell Stewart glanced down yesterday, saw his number 10 screened onto an unfamiliar purple jersey, and chuckled.
"Who'd 've thunk that?" said Stewart, the newest Baltimore Raven.
It was rather odd seeing the longtime Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback in the uniform of the Steelers' rival in Owings Mills, Md., but Stewart -- and the Ravens -- quickly adjusted.
"First thing, you know you're getting a guy that can definitely play," linebacker Cornell Brown said. "That's the bottom line. You know what he's going to bring to the table. But then you sit back and think, hey -- this guy was a Steeler for so many years, and you wanted to beat him up and take him out, and you wanted to stop him. Now he's part of this team. We have to make him feel at home."
Stewart, 31, accepted the Ravens' one-year offer at the veteran minimum ($760,000) Wednesday evening and joined his new teammates for a voluntary passing session yesterday morning. Stewart participated in some of the drills, but didn't take any reps during the seven-on-seven drills at the end of the 75-minute practice. Instead, he watched and chatted with quarterback Anthony Wright, whose shoulder injury (partially torn labrum) paved the way for Stewart's arrival.
Wright had shoulder surgery last week and won't resume throwing until September, which meant that the Ravens needed a veteran to play behind second-year starter Kyle Boller. They chose Stewart, a 10-year veteran who was released earlier this year by the Chicago Bears after one season.
Stewart was a Pro Bowl quarterback in 2001 but was the lowest-rated passer in the NFC (56.8). In nine starts at quarterback against Baltimore, he lost once (a 13-10 defeat in 2001), going 5-0 in Baltimore.
"It's pretty nice, isn't it?" Stewart said. "I hope I can keep it that way."
For now, Stewart is just trying to get settled in as quickly as possible. He'll spend the next few days studying his playbook, so he'll be ready to practice on Monday, when minicamp begins. And he'll try to get used to wearing purple.
"It's a little strange for the first 20 minutes. But as time goes on, it's just football," Stewart said. "It's a pretty nice uniform. I've always liked the uniform. I hated it when I played against it, but I'm part of it now."
-- Camille Powell