After four seasons and a Super Bowl title in Denver, safety Darian Stewart is moving on. The Broncos announced Thursday they had released the nine-year veteran who graduated from Lee High School here in Huntsville.
Stewart, who arrived in Denver as a free agent in 2015 and started 16 total games that year for the Super Bowl 50 champions, recorded nine interceptions, two forced fumbles and 250 tackles during regular-season games in his Broncos career.
Playing alongside former Broncos safety T.J. Ward, cornerback Chris Harris Jr., cornerback Bradley Roby and former Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, Stewart was a key piece of Denver’s vaunted “No-Fly Zone” that led the NFL in passing defense in both 2015 and 2016.
The 30-year-old South Carolina product played a key role during the Broncos’ run to the Super Bowl. He started all three games in the postseason and forced a pair of turnovers. In the second quarter of an AFC Championship win over the Patriots, Stewart intercepted Tom Brady. He also knocked the ball loose from Mike Tolbert in the Super Bowl to help the Broncos maintain a 13-7 lead.
His best performance, though, likely came in a 2016 regular-season game against the New Orleans Saints when he recorded two interceptions and a fumble recovery in a 25-23 win. He became the first Broncos player since Deltha O’Neal in 2001 to notch three turnovers in a game.
He was named to his lone Pro Bowl appearance as a Bronco following the 2016 season.
Stewart also found plenty of other regular-season success.
He intercepted Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco in the end zone to preserve a Week 1 win in 2015 during his first game as a Bronco. And in 2016, he picked off Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers and returned the ball to the San Diego 10-yard line to set up a Denver touchdown.
Stewart intercepted two passes during his final season in Denver.
Stewart started 58 games and appeared in total 61 contests while with the Broncos.
Denver’s safety group now includes Justin Simmons, Will Parks, Su’a Cravens, Jamal Carter, Dymonte Thomas and Tre Marshall.