Panthers running back Jonathan Stewart has proven that when he’s well, he can carry the load. And he’s also proven that when he’s paired with another top back, they can both produce.
So he’s not the least bit worried about the Panthers using the eighth pick in the draft on running back Christian McCaffrey, and how that might cut into his work.
“Stop talking about that. Who cares?” Stewart said, via David Newton of ESPN.com. “We want to win the Super Bowl, right? That’s the bottom line. It’s not about people getting carries. It’s not about people getting catches or touchdowns.
“It’s about what can you contribute to get us to the Super Bowl.”
Of course, Stewart and McCaffrey aren’t the same kind of back, even more of a contrast than when Stewart and DeAngelo Williams shared the backfield. And perhaps because of that, the Panthers were willing to extend the 30-year-old Stewart’s deal by a year, providing at least a year’s worth of peace of mind for the veteran.
But he’s hoping it’s more like the “Double Trouble” days. His rookie season, the Panthers went 12-4 and he and Williams combined for over 2,300 yards (Williams 1,515 and Stewart 836). The following year, they each topped 1,100 (Stewart 1,133 and Williams 1,117).
That also served to keep some miles off Stewart, as he hits the magic number for running backs, a week removed from his 30th birthday.
“I feel great,” Stewart said. “I feel pretty good compared to any other 30-year-old running back that you’ll probably see. In this business the age shouldn’t be a factor. It’s all about production.”
And he thinks he and McCaffrey can produce together.