Indian Creek Grad Patrick Stewart Lands Carolina Panthers Post
Stewart Hired As Director of Player Personnel
WINTERSVILLE — From the time that he was a young manager watching his father, Court, coach at Wintersville High School, Patrick Stewart always had an eye for talent.
“I used to sit around and just watch the players and how they handled themselves,” Stewart, 38, said during a recent phone interview. “I’ve always been into evaluating and observing.”
Basically, ever since those adolescent years, Stewart — a 2000 graduate of Indian Creek High School has continued to watch players and his eye for their talents has only gotten stronger.
Stewart, who has been working in the National Football League as a scout for the Patriots and last season the Eagles, is climbing the professional ladder again and his talent eye will become even more vital.
Stewart was recently hired by long-time friend Matt Ruhle as the Director of Player Personnel for the Carolina Panthers.
“The head coach and general manager run the organization, so it comes down to titles for the rest of us,” Stewart said modestly.
“Whether it’s scout or director of player personnel, we’re all there to evaluate players. I don’t see myself over top of anyone else. It’s always a group effort and we’re all just trying to find the best players.”
Stewart, 38, wasn’t actually looking for the opportunity he landed. After several successful seasons with the New England Patriots, including a couple of Super Bowl championships, the former multi-sport performer with the Redskins spent this past season working with the Philadelphia Eagles.
“I wasn’t really looking for another job because I loved working in Philadelphia,” Stewart said. “I had a great setup in New England and then the Philadelphia situation arose and I knew some guys down there, so I took that opportunity.”
When Ruhle was hired by the Panthers to replace Ron Rivera, Stewart thought back to their relationship.
And they go way back.
“I’ve known Matt for probably 15 years,” Stewart said.
Ruhle hired Stewart as a graduate assistant at Western Carolina University in 2005. Ruhle then took a job at Temple and helped get Stewart on that staff in an operations position. That Owls staff also included current Ohio State head coach Ryan Day, who was a wide receivers coach.
“Matt and I always stayed in touch and maintained contact,” Stewart said. “Matt and I always talked about how fun it would be to work together.”
This is where it got tricky for Stewart. He was under contract with the Eagles when Ruhle called about the director of player personnel opportunity.
“It was totally up to the Eagles if they were going to let me pursue that and I feel fortunate that they were accommodating,” Stewart said.
Because of the on-going pandemic and the fact that the NFL has been conducting most of its off-season business virtually, Stewart hasn’t re-located to Charlotte from his home in Columbus just yet.
The NFL facilities started to re-open to coaches and staff members on Friday as restrictions across the country have eased in the last several weeks.
“Once we get into the building, we’ll get right to work,” Stewart said. “We’ll come up with the process and program for how we’re going to scout and evaluate. There’s a good system in place, so we’ll continue to mold it for what we’re looking for.”