INDIANAPOLIS – Grover Stewart’s best season with the Indianapolis Colts has resulted in a big payday.
The veteran defensive tackle has agreed to a three-year, $30.75 million extension, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. IndyStar was first to report the deal, which includes $20 million in guarantees.
Stewart, a 2017 fourth-round draft pick, was due to become an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. Instead, he’ll remain a fixture in the Colts’ defensive front.
Stewart has appeared in 56 games, but emerged as an interior force the past two seasons. He started 13 games in 2019 and all 10 games this season, and has developed into one of the NFL’s top run presences on the league’s No. 2-ranked defense. This season, he has 36 tackles, including four for a loss.
A key to Stewart’s stellar play this season was his decision to drop weight. He estimated he entered the NFL at roughly 345 pounds, but “I got all the way down to like 308.’’
A lighter, quicker Stewart has been a more effective Stewart.
“I felt that if I lost weight that I could move quicker and still have my strength,’’ he said. “I always want to move like a little guy . . . always consider myself small, so losing weight was a big thing for me.
“I gained muscle and dropped a lot of fat, so I really helped myself out in the long run.’’
The immediate result? A breakout season.
“Yes sir, I feel like I’m having a good year,’’ Stewart said. “I still feel like I can do more than what I’m doing now.’’
All-Pro linebacker Darius Leonard believes he and Stewart are similar, beginning with each coming from an HBCU school: Leonard from South Carolina State and Stewart from Albany State.
“It’s crazy,’’ Leonard said. “We drive the same truck. We have the same exact truck. His is white but mine is black. We both are country boys. We love to hunt. We love to go out and fish. We love building old-school cars.
“We have so much in common and we just have that drive. He feels like he’s underrated. He feels like he’s been slept on and you can tell that his mindset this year has been crazy. He’s running to the ball like no other.
“He’s out to prove something.’’
You can follow Mike Chappell on Twitter at @mchappell51.