Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Three things to know about M.J. Stewart
By Bailey Adams
2. He Had Off-Field Issues in the Past
The Buccaneers, at least under Jason Licht, haven’t seemed to take too many players with troubled pasts. They bucked that trend with the pick of M.J. Stewart, who had some off-field issues at the University of North Carolina. He was suspended for a game in 2014 due to a hazing incident. Then, as a sophomore, he and teammate Mike Hughes (Minnesota’s first round pick), were suspended from the team after violating ream rules. He later got charged with misdemeanor assault and battery.
Once Stewart returned to the Tar Heels, he had no further issues. In 2017, he served as a team leader in what was a rough season for UNC. In his post-draft conference call, the Yorktown High School product said he learned a lot from his suspension. Considering Tampa Bay spent a second round pick on him, the team must feel like he has left his issues firmly behind him.
As a rookie coming to Tampa, Stewart will have some great leaders to learn from. That is especially the case on defense, with Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David, Kwon Alexander and Brent Grimes serving as a veteran group that can guide the young defensive back in the early stages of his NFL career.