A couple of weeks ago, it was reported that Cincinnati defensive end Walter Stewart would miss the Bearcats’ game against Toledo — and perhaps longer — with an unspecified “upper body injury.”
Turns out, the “perhaps longer” part of that report means “for good.”
Per his father, 247Sports reported that Stewart’s season, and playing career, is over because of a congenital defect in his spine. More from BearcatLair.com:
Stewart’s foster father, Keith Fields, told BCL on Monday night that Stewart was born without a “posterior C1 arch” and the problem surfaced after the Fordham game on October 13.
“Walt was injured on the fourth play of the game,” said Fields. “But he continued to play the rest of the game. The acute fracture of the front part of his arch revealed the problem with the C1.”
Cincinnati coach Butch Jones also confirmed that Stewart was done for the year on Tuesday.
“He’s had a second opinion,” Jones said. “I know he’s a prideful individual. I know football means the world to him. My deal with him is I’m going to be there with him as long as he allows me to be there for him. I told him we’ll be together for a long, long time and he can be on my coaching staff. He can start the process of being a coach if that’s what he chooses to do.”
A senior with 41 starts, Stewart was gaining interest from NFL scouts. He had five sacks and seven tackles for loss this season this season, and his 17.5 career sacks ranks him eighth all-time at Cincy. He was without a doubt one of the best, if not the best, defensive player on the Bearcats’ roster.
Season-ending injuries are always tough; career-ending ones are surely almost unimaginable. We send our best to Stewart, who we hope is able to keep football a part of his life in some capacity.