Steelers G.M. Candidate Gets Major Endorsement From ESPN Commentators

Stephen A Smith and Ryan Clark

Photos by Justin Casterline and Chris Graythen/Getty Images ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith on July 11, 2021 (left) and Ryan Clark of ESPN on January 13, 2020.

On Wednesday March 2, ESPN senior NFL insider Adam Schefter reported that the Pittsburgh Steelers have interviewed ESPN analyst Louis Riddick for the team’s general manager job, a development that had long been expected, as the interview was scheduled nearly a month ago.

Building on that news, both Stephen A. Smith and former Steelers safety Ryan Clark used a portion of their time on the March 3 edition of ESPN’s First Take to gush about the possibility of Riddick taking over for Kevin Colbert as the organization’s new G.M.

Stephen A. Smith on Colleague Louis Riddick

“Louis Riddick is one of the great football minds that exist in the NFL today and I think it’s a moment to step back and to pause and to recognize who the hell this man is,” began Smith, who ultimately got so enthused that he resorted to swearing.

“Louis Riddick is incredibly knowledgeable, very much connected, and incredibly thoughtful and thorough at his damn job,” he continued. “When you come on the air with Louis Riddick, you better have two options available to you. You better know what you’re talking about, or you better be willing to step back and listen to the knowledge that this brother is going to drop.”

Smith went on to liken Riddick to longtime Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin, at least in the sense that Tomlin was an outside the box hire as a head coach, as he had just one year’s worth of experience as a defensive coordinator (Minnesota Vikings) when he got the job. It proved to be the right hiring decision, as the organization hasn’t had a losing season since, and Tomlin has guided the team to two Super Bowl appearances and one Super Bowl title.

Likewise, Riddick would be an outside the box hire for the Steelers because he hasn’t been part of an NFL front office since 2013, when he served as director of pro personnel for the Philadelphia Eagles.

“If Louis Riddick and Mike Tomlin are working together for the Pittsburgh Steelers, I can’t even tell you what I can fantasize about as it pertains to what the Pittsburgh Steelers are going to do into the future,” continued Smith. “I sincerely hope that they do what the (New York) Giants were stupid enough not to do; they should have hired Louis Riddick instead of Gettleman,” a reference to former Giants general manager Dave Gettleman, who was fired in January 2022 after four seasons on the job.

Ryan Clark: Another Promotional Wingman For Louis Riddick

As for Ryan Clark, he has confidence that the Steelers will choose the right man for the general manager role, which will officially come open when Kevin Colbert steps down following the 2022 NFL Draft.

“I think when you look at the Rooney family and the Pittsburgh Steelers, they have shown over and over again that they are going to hire who they believe is the best man, no matter the color, no matter the background. It’s all about ‘Can you get the job done?’ he offered.

“And Louis Riddick is a guy who can get the job done,” added Clark, referring to his background as a former NFL defensive back, scout, and pro personnel executive, not to mention his experience working as an analyst on Monday Night Football and commentator on ESPN’s Get Up and First Take.

“There is no one with more knowledge—but more than that, there is no one that communicates that knowledge better—than Louis Riddick,” said Clark, arguing that his television colleague not only understands the NFL game, he understands the physicality that the Steelers want to embody. Moreover, Clark believes he recognizes the importance of team building, especially as it pertains to the AFC North.

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Of course, whoever takes over for Kevin Colbert will have big shoes to fill, as Colbert is considered by many NFL observers to be the best general manager in the NFL.

Riddick has plenty of competition for the job, too. As noted by’s Steelers G.M. Interview Tracker, there are 13 candidates (and counting) for the role, including in-house candidates Omar Khan and Brandon Hunt.

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