St. C.’s Stewart: A true Patriot
Often times recent college graduates spend months – if not years – sending out resumes, applications and interviewing before they land an actual job in their chosen career field.
Obviously, Adam Stewart – the 2006 St. Clairsville High School and 2010 Ohio State University graduate – is one of the lucky ones.
With a degree in athletic training, Stewart landed a prime-time position as a member of the New England Patriots’ training staff.
“Usually, it’s an interim position and they don’t bring people back for a second year because there are so many people trying to do it and they want to provide an opportunity to many different people.”
After last season, Stewart was asked to return for this year and he wasted little time in signing on the dotted line.
“I am still loving it,” Stewart. “There’s never a day that’s the same as the one before, which is what keeps people fresh despite the long hours.”
One of the road trips Stewart has been most looking forward to has arrived for him and the Patriots when they visit Heinz Field to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers today at 4:15 p.m.
“It’s always fun to go to Pittsburgh,” Stewart said. “I’ve been there so many times growing up even though I grew up a Browns’ fan. My parents and some other family members are coming up, so it will a good time. Hopefully, we can get a win.”
There was a time, however, when Stewart and many of those involved with the NFL believed this trip would come to fruition because of the league’s work stoppage.
“There was a time period when we would still come (to the team’s facility),” Stewart said. “The coaches or staff members might need something, but it was really limited hours.”
However, in the early summer, Patriots’ head coach Bill Belichick told his coaches and the entire staff to basically go home.
“He told us, ‘we’ve done all we can,'” Stewart said. “He told us to take some time off and do whatever we wanted to do, but he gave us a report back date and it was just a few days before they lifted the lockout.”
Stewart listened to his boss and returned to the Ohio Valley for about a month and spent time with his family and friends.
“For a while, there was a concern on whether or not a deal would get done,” Stewart said. “But, there was just too much money to be lost on both sides, so we kind of had a feeling a deal would get done.”
Once the deal was approved and ratified, camps opened and life has been basically a blur ever since.
“We saw a lot of tweaks and mild sprains during camp, but that was expected because you can’t simulate playing actual football until you’re playing,” Stewart said. “We’ve got a veteran-oriented team, so the players did their part and came back to camp in pretty good shape.”
During training camp, Stewart was working upwards of 16 hours. He would arrive at the training facility between 5:30 a.m. and 6 and head for home at about 10 p.m.
During the season, Monday and Tuesday are reserved for player treatments and meetings. Wednesday and Thursday are the long days of practice. Based upon where the team plays that weekend, determins the Friday and Saturday schedule.
“Sunday is the best day of the week,” Stewart admitted. “It’s made clear that roadtrips are all business.”
Once the game ends this Sunday, for instance, the training staff will tend to players and within a hour, the charter buses will be on their way to Pittsburgh International Airport to catch the chartered flight back to Foxborough.
And then the process starts over again.
While Stewart is loving life as a Patriots’ employee, he’s set some additional goals for himself.
“I just finished up the application process to go to physical therapy school,” Stewart admitted. “I’ve been looking at Boston University and Miami, Fla., so this season is it for me, for right now, because I’d like to get my doctorate in physical therapy.”
So is Stewart done with sports training or more specificially the NFL?
He’s not quite ready to go that far.
“I hope to get back to this point,” Stewart said. “It’s one of those things where you hope you’ve made enough connections or a coach or even a player has liked you enough and they’re willing to give you an opportunity to get back to this level.”
While the dream of PT school was always there, after working with the Ohio State football program and then spending the summer interning with the Buffalo Bills prior to his final year in Columbus, Stewart realized that the on-the-job training was just too good to pass up.
“After I got involved and then had a chance to do it, I knew there was no way I could turn it down,” Stewart said. “I was willing to put school on the back burner when I had this chance. I’ve learned so much from being here and with the Bills (as an intern). Being in this position has been great, and it’s going to be a challenge to going back to the student life from the every day work life, but it’s something I feel like I need to do at this point.”
- STEWART SPENT his football training days under former head coach Jim Tressel and he, like most Buckeye alumni and fans, was shocked by what transpired this past spring and summer.
“It was sad to me because I saw how many great things Coach Tressel did for people,” Stewart said. “It doesn’t change the way I view the program.”
As for the future of the Buckeyes’ program, Stewart believes interim head coach Luke Fickell is a strong candidate.
“I know when I was there, everyone spoke quite highly of him and always thought he would be a head coach,” Stewart said. “He’s definitely had his ups and downs so far, but I think he has a chance.”
- CHECK MONDAY’S paper for complete OHSAA Football Tournament pairings. The quest for Stark County begins Friday with Divisions V, III and II. The other divisions will play on Saturday.
- GIRLS BASKETBALL practice got under way this past Friday. Boys begins this Friday and wrestling practices begin on Nov. 11.
Staskey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org