Pittsburgh Steelers Vice President and General Manager Kevin Colbert, 63, has been operating on one-year contracts for the last several seasons. So it’s now an annual question whether he will return to the Steelers on another one-year contract, retire, or move on to take a similar job with another NFL team.
Kevin Colbert to the Detroit Lions? Carolina Panthers?
According to a brand-new report by Jason La Confora of CBS Sports, the Detroit Lions “covet” Kevin Colbert for their General Manager position, but at this point “the odds of him leaving Pittsburgh are beyond slim,” as he has already decided to return to the Steelers for another season. (La Confora says “an extension [with Pittsburgh] is a mere formality at this point.”)
It’s no surprise that Detroit would be interested in Colbert for its general manager vacancy, as Colbert was Pro Scouting Director for the Lions before becoming Pittsburgh’s Director of Football Operations in 2000. He held that role for 11 years before being named General Manager.
Never mind the fact that he has an enviable track record as General Manager of the Steelers, having overseen the building of three AFC Championship teams and two Super Bowl winners (XL and XLIII). During his tenure the Steelers have won ten division titles, earning 13 playoff berths, including this season.
Moreover, in 21 Colbert-led drafts, the Steelers have selected 21 Pro Bowlers, including seven first-team All-Pros. That includes 10 Pro Bowlers and six AP First-Team All-Pros since 2010, despite selecting within the top 15 just once during that time frame.
In recent years, Carolina Panthers owner David Pepper (a former part-owner of the Steelers) has also shown interest in prying Colbert away from Pittsburgh, along with other Steelers executives like Vice President of Football & Business Administration Omar Khan. But thus far, at least, Pittsburgh’s brain trust has remained intact.
A Contract Extension Would Take Colbert Through the 2022 NFL Draft
Last year, Colbert signed his contract extension in early February, and his current deal runs through the 2021 Draft. If he re-signs following this season, the contract would take him through the 2022 NFL Draft.
In December, former Steelers executive Doug Whaley predicted that Colbert will retire in the not-too-distant future, and that his retirement will occur when the quarterback he drafted in 2004 decides to call it quits.
“In my opinion … [Colbert] is in the twilight of his career, not ability-wise, just age-wise. As soon as [quarterback Ben] Roethlisberger retires, I think he’s going to be putting in his retirement papers … right after Roethlisberger,” said Whaley.
But first, Roethlisberger and Colbert have a chance to build on the postseason success the two have enjoyed with each other, including a 15-10 playoff record and two Super Bowl titles.
Roethlisberger’s health figures to be a big factor in how far the Steelers go in the playoffs this year. You may recall that three weeks ago, the aforementioned La Confora reported that the issues with Roethlisberger’s knees were “a bigger deal” than the team was letting on.
Roethlisberger would go on to say that his arm is “really good, it’s more about the rest of the body.”