PITTSBURGH - Kordell Stewart was in town last week to retire as a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
That perfunctory bit of paper shuffling was important to him, and not to many others.
Spies report coach Mike Tomlin was grabbing media types gathered for the team's offseason practices and urging them to attend Stewart's announcement so it would seem like a big deal.
Part of the reason it didn't mean much was Stewart last played in the NFL in 2005. Nobody's been waiting seven years for a retirement announcement.
But it actually did wind up being significant. Stewart, with much distance from his playing career, apparently has fond memories of Pittsburgh.
That's the same city that booed him, dumped beer on him, and eagerly spread vicious lies about him.
The Steelers are the team that benched him, demoted him to receiver, banned him from quarterback meetings and replaced him with an immobile mediocrity, Kent Graham, whose sole asset was the ability to memorize a playbook Stewart never seemed to fully grasp.
Through all of that, Stewart wanted to be remembered as a Steeler.
It's a tough town for quarterbacks. Truth be told, a lot of people weren't that crazy about Hall of Famer Terry Bradshaw until they saw the pretenders who followed him and failed.
Even now, Ben Roethlisberger's critics abound. In this region, baby's first sentence is likely to be, "He holds the ball too damn long."
But it was even tougher for Stewart, who was the victim of a cruel and false smear campaign about his personal life. Like all urban legends, it was backed by supposedly credible sources.
Yet when one newspaper turned reporters loose on the alleged story, they came up empty. Things got so bad that Stewart felt compelled to address the issue with teammates, telling them, "I believe in Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve."
And yet Stewart wants to be remembered as a Steeler.
It could be that he has a faulty memory. But it's probably more likely he has an advanced sense of forgiveness.
MLB commissioner Bud Selig was upset with Chicago White Sox announcer and unabashed homer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson for lambasting an umpire on a broadcast.
Seems like the real concern should be the quality of umpiring, not what announcers are saying about them.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org