Walter Stewart takes inspirational path to NFL Scouting Combine
gregg rosenthal @greggrosenthal
biggest eye-opener today? RT @nflnetwork: 'If he checks out medically, he's a Top 10 pick.' Mayock on Walter Stewart http://on.nfl.com/CombineSec
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On that twisted day in June, two days before Walter Stewart's 13th birthday, something told him to run. He needed to put this strange situation behind him. It was a time to press forward, no longer a time to look back.
So when another argument with his mother turned more violent than usual -- she threw a telephone that caused damage to his face -- the future football prospect got out of the house, his life on its way to being forever altered.
"It just started to get out of control," said Stewart, now a product of the University of Cincinnati preparing for the 2013 NFL Draft as a defensive end. "The way she was using discipline on me ... we weren't meshing. So I ran away."
Stewart, who appreciatively entered Ohio's foster-care system within two days, no longer looks back at his past with any resentment. He doesn't begrudge his biological mother, who gave birth to him when she was 12. He doesn't feel sorry for himself, refusing to dwell on his childhood or the struggles he endured.
Then why is it even important? Well, after five years in the foster-care system, which included a move away from Columbus to the small town of Ashville, Ohio, Stewart is not defined by his past. But he was most certainly molded by it.
Less than 10 years later, Stewart is among the 333 college football players invited to next week's NFL Scouting Combine. And while you probably know little about him -- or the spinal abnormality that continues to jeopardize his career -- few could possibly face a more uncertain week ahead after taking a more uncertain path to get here.
Few have endured greater. Few have a more inspirational story to share. And few will be more interesting to follow, as you'll see once you know his whole story.