Newly acquired RB Jonathan Stewart may be a veteran, but after signing a two-year deal with the Giants, he is treading new waters playing for a new team for the first time in his 10-year career.
But Stewart isn't entirely away from his Panthers family. Former Carolina and current Giants GM Dave Gettleman as well as Giants new OC Mike Shula were both in the building when Stewart was there.
Stewart had meetings with the Seahawks and Lions as well, but he told the New York media on his first conference call Monday that familiar faces with the Giants aided in his decision to pick Big Blue.
"It played a signifcant role," Stewart said. "Dave believes in me, and it's just good to know that the GM believes in what you can do on the field, and Mike Shula, there is a familiarity with the offense and the scheme, and I believe in what they're going to do moving forward with the draft. They're definitely a good team, they've got a lot of good players on offense and defense and I'm just excited to be apart of it."
His fellow running backs, now, consist of youngsters in Wayne Gallman and Paul Perkins, and potentially Orleans Darkwa if he re-signs. Being the oldest in the that corps, Stewart is hoping he can not only compete, but share his yers of wisdom with his new teammates.
"I'm definitely excited to go in there and share my wisdom as being a professional in this business and also learn, too, from the younger guys as well. There is always room for growth and I'm excited to be apart of that running back group and I'm sure we hav a lot to look forward to at the end of the day. THe sky is the limit and I'm excited to meet those guys and be a part of the team."
Along with meeting Gettleman, Stewart's day-long visit with the Giants involved meeting with HC Pat Shurmur, running backs coach Craig Johnson, and even receivers coach Tyke Tolbert.
With Christian McCaffrey leading the backs in Carolina last season, Stewart saw a drop in production with 680 yards, and a below-average 3.4 yards per carry. Stewart is also at the 30-year-old mark, which is usually where running backs start to decline.
But the experienced back still thinks he has a lot of football in him, and he plans on showing the Giants that this season.
"I've got a lot left," he said. "The only reason why I would be playing is if I knew I could play and I know I can play. Dave knows I can play -- there is a lot that I feel I want to prove and writing my own story as far as how things shape up moving forward for me. I'm excited about the opportunity at hand and I'm grateful for the owners taking a chance on me and trusting in the GM and the coaching staff to trust me."