January 9, 1974 |
Lumberton, North Carolina
|College||North Carolina A&T|
|NFL draft||1996 / Round: 1 / Pick 29|
After a stellar college career for North Carolina A&T, the Pittsburgh Steelers selected him in the first round (29th overall) in the 1996 NFL Draft. Blessed with great size (6'6), the Steelers selected him as a "project" player and projected him to be a great starting tackle with several years of development.
Despite the lofty expectations placed on him by the Steelers, Stephens' career with the Steelers was marred by mediocrity and a poor work ethic on Stephens' part. Despite his lack of development, he managed to start ten games (he played in 11) for the Steelers in the 1998 season, beating out Paul Wiggins for the starting right tackle job in training camp.
Stephens is infamously known by Steelers fans for an incident that occurred on July 30, 1999 the first day of Steelers training camp. That day, a visibly out-of-shape Stephens (he appeared to be 20 pounds over his listed weight of 330 pounds) failed to complete a series of 40-yard runs that were traditional on the first day of camp under Bill Cowher. He nearly collapsed after the 11th of 14 scheduled runs, then barely walked through the remaining ones. Cowher was so disgusted by this embarrassing display that he cut Stephens hours later.
Stephens was promptly signed by the rival Cincinnati Bengals after the Steelers cut him. Stephens played with the Bengals from 1999–2002, and was one of the players released by the team after Marvin Lewis took over as head coach.