Robert Stewart, former Alabama football All-American, dies at 55

Nick Kelly
The Tuscaloosa News

Robert Stewart, a former Alabama football All-American nose guard in 1991, has died. He was 55. 

Stewart died June 4 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The cause of death has not been announced. 

"Robert was so robust, cheerful and powerful," said former Alabama coach Bill Curry. "We all loved him." 

He was recruited as a fullback but later became a nose guard. He went on to be selected in the eighth round of the 1992 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints. 

Former Alabama defensive end John Copeland only got to be teammates with Stewart for a season. But that's all it took for Stewart to impact Copeland. 

"He was just an even-keeled guy," Copeland said. "Always calm. Always willing to help. You could go talk to him about anything." 

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But Stewart's strength was often the talk of the weight room. Copeland remembered one time when Stewart had 500 pounds on the bench press. 

"And boom," Copeland said. "It falls on his chest." 

Stewart appeared to be in a lot of pain. After the bar was removed from his chest, Stewart went to the training room for 10-15 minutes. 

"He comes back into the weight room," Copeland recalled, "and says, 'Put it back on there.' " 

So, his teammates put 500 pounds back on the bar. 

"And he reps it," Copeland said. "Twice. Like it was nothing." 

Robert Stewart on the field for Alabama football.

The strength translated to Stewart's style of play. Copeland described him as a "very physical guy." 

"He was by far the most brute on the football field," Copeland said. "His whole thing was physicality." 

And mentoring. Stewart taught Copeland how to be a college football player. Things like being on time, taking care of your body and doing what needs to be done off the field. 

"I think he's the kind of guy who would give you anything," Copeland said. "The shirt off his back. He was a very calm guy. A very personable guy. Easy to talk to. One of the nicest guys you'll ever meet."

Nick Kelly covers Alabama football and men's basketball for The Tuscaloosa News, part of the USA TODAY Network. Reach him at nkelly@gannett.com or follow him on Twitter: @_NickKelly