JStew’s in the house! How’s everyone?

This week, let’s talk about the importance of mentors and coach Ron Rivera, our divisional games, my new music, Lil’ Weezy and my home entertainment set-up.

It’s easy to think that young athletes have it made. We are blessed. But even pro athletes have issues and not just on the field—health, family, social situations, whatever. And we all need a little help—we can’t do it on our own. So it’s great to have someone to look up to, when you’re a youth or even a young man, when you have questions, struggles or a bump in the road in your life. Someone you can go to for answers.

Cecil Daniels, who was my youth pastor back in Washington, has been that person for me. If he didn’t know the answer, he’d find a way to get an answer. He’s been my number one fan on and off the field, making sure that I’m level-headed, that I have the support I need, and that I can deal with football issues from college through the pros. I consider him my life mentor, but he’s been like a brother, a father, and also my best friend.

Another mentor was the Ducks’ running backs coach, Gary Campbell. He played all the way up to the pros, so he helped me adapt to college play. He instilled confidence in me, not only as player but also as a young man growing up in college. I always hung out in his office to talk and whatnot because I respected and trusted him, which is key to any relationship.

You can’t help but respect people like Panthers’ coach Ron Rivera, who won Super Bowl XX with the Bears as a player. He’s got a lot of integrity as a man. He’s started pretty much from scratch with our team, but he also expects a lot out of us. He wants to do things the right way, that’s what he believes in, and he understands what it’s like to win a Super Bowl. All the players are on board with him, and we expect a lot bigger things.

Our three losses have all been close—by seven points or less. Now we’ve got two important divisional games against New Orleans and Atlanta. To succeed we have to stick to what we believe we can accomplish. When you have a group of young men following a man who has the type of integrity and the belief that coach Rivera has in us, then there’s nothing but good that can come out of that. As I tweeted to #Panthernation: “We will get on track just wait!”

I also hope you like my new tune “I’m Trapped in a Matrix” in the music section of jstew28.com.

When you make music, you’re inspired by something going on in your life. With this tune, like in The Matrix, you’re unsure whether reality is real or are we all just dreaming? Sometimes, I catch myself sitting down thinking about how blessed I am to have the career that I have now, and it’s a great reality but it’s also kind of a surreal moment. We’ve all been there, you know what I mean.

One musician I like is Lil’ Wayne. He’s very creative with his words. A lot of times he correlates things he’s singing about with sporting events. It’s something that the rap industry brings to professional sports. Earlier this year, Weezy remixed a tune and came up with “Green & Yellow” for his fave team, the Packers. Weezy sings about things like desire, hunger and wanting to be great, and it all correlates to wanting to achieve in sports.

A reader asked about my home entertainment set-up, so here goes: I have three big screen Sony Internet HDTVs in my living room, bedroom, and my hangout room—the video game room where I have my Xbox set up. I just roll with the Xbox, PlayStation is for beginners! And I’ve got it all synced up so that everything in my place is controlled through my iPad—lighting, video, audio, and Apple TV, which I watch a lot on that beautiful 65-inch screen!

I’ve also done some re-modeling at home. I wanted some darker wood on my floors. And that led to getting a new kitchen, and I did some real cool things with it. Check out the pic below to see what I did. I know Oregon fans will enjoy it!

Here’s a shoutout to thousands of readers who’ve read my Blog and shared it on Facebook and Twitter, and to those who took time to comment on MadeMan.com’s page (like Rebecca, Eileen, Gur Mike, Bobby, Billy, John, Joel and Tish). And thanks to the Panthers’ social media peeps for their support. Give them a look on Facebook and Twitter and at panthers.com.

Finally, when the water gets rough don’t abandon the ship, ride it out.

Till next time, JStew out!


As told to Ashley Jude Collie