According to a Sunday morning report by both Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network, longtime Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is “expected to step down following the 2022 NFL Draft.”
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The news was not unexpected, however. In recent years, Colbert—who turns 65 this month—has been working on a series of one year contracts, with the most recent extension signed in March 2021.
And as NFL Network’s Aditi Kinkhabwala reminds us, “Colbert has long said he’ll stay as long as Roethlisberger does….”
That’s a sentiment that has also been echoed by former Steelers pro personnel coordinator Doug Whaley, who recently said: “As soon as Roethlisberger retires, I think he’s going to be putting in his retirement papers….”
Kevin Colbert’s Enviable Track Record as Steelers GM
For the last 11 seasons, Kevin Colbert has been the team’s general manager (adding the title of vice president in 2016). During the prior 11 years he held the title of director of football operations, having joined the Steelers in February 2000 after coming over from the Detroit Lions, where he served as pro scouting director.
During the past 22 years he has overseen the construction of three AFC Championship teams and two Super Bowl winners (XL and XLIII). During his tenure the Steelers have won ten division titles and secured 13 playoff berths.
Moreover, the Steelers have not had a losing season since 2003, when the team went 6-10 under then-head coach Bill Cowher and earned the chance to draft Roethlisberger No. 11 overall in the spring of 2004. In 22 Colbert-led drafts, the Steelers have selected 21 Pro Bowlers, and for what it’s worth, in June 2021 The Draft Scout ranked Colbert as the best general manager in the league.
In-House Candidates to Replace Kevin Colbert
There are two individuals who have long been viewed as potential in-house candidates to replace Colbert. One is Omar Khan, the team’s vice president of football operations and business administration, who has been with the organization since 2001. The other is pro scouting coordinator Brandon Hunt, who has been in his role since 2010.
Last year, Khan was a finalist for the Houston Texans’ general manager position, but the job went to former Patriots director of player personnel Nick Caserio.
Of course, one thing that won’t be changing this offseason is Pittsburgh’s head coach. In April 2021 Mike Tomlin signed a contract extension that binds him to the team through the 2024 season. A recent report by Sportico has Tomlin as the fifth-highest paid coach in the NFL, with a salary of $11.5 million per year. This season he broke the NFL record for most consecutive non-losing seasons to begin a head coaching career (15), a record he shared with the late Marty Schottenheimer.
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