So it turns out, not only was former Pittsburgh Steelers great John Stallworth honored at last night’s Dapper Dan Awards Dinner, but so was current team general manager Kevin Colbert. Stallworth was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award, which I wrote about earlier this week, and as Teresa Varley notes in an article yesterday, he is indeed still a member of the franchise’s ownership group.
As for Colbert, he was the recipient of the Freddie Fu Leadership Award, which he called a “very humbling” honor and saying that “it was a nice surprise just to be a part of the evening in an honorable fashion. It’s always a good night”. He regularly attends the Dapper Dan Awards, which raises money for charities, on an annual basis.
“When you talk about leadership, knowledge of self is where you start” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said of his long-runner partner, heading into their 12th season of working together. “The single most impressive thing about Kevin is his knowledge of self. He is really comfortable in his shoes. I think it allows him to really be consistent from a leadership standpoint”.
Colbert has in fact been a part of the Steelers organization for nearly two decades at this point, joining the front office as director of football operations in 2000. It was only recently that the team officially recognized him as ‘general manager’, which is a formal title that they had never used before for anybody in their history.
“We are in volatile circumstances and situations all of the time. The number of issues we deal with, just by the nature of the business, is challenging”, Tomlin went on to say. “His steadiness, his knowledge of self, and how comfortable he is in his shoes really provides good, steady leadership in an environment that can be less than steady”.
I realize that Colbert is not a favorite among certain fans, particularly among those who have been highly critical of their drafting, but I’ve personally long been appreciative of how he goes about the business of putting together a team, even if I don’t agree with every action, and he has always been a good interview.
While he did not cut his teeth in the Steelers organization, he is a Pittsburgh native and grew up cheering for the team, and he learned quite a bit when he had the opportunity to work under Dan Rooney, from whom he learned the importance of giving back to the community in which he serves.
“I think that it’s your obligation to give back to the community that has provided you. It’s nothing you do intentionally or think about, it’s just what you should do in your everyday actions, helping somebody who needs more than you do”.
Tomlin continued his praise of Colbert, saying, that “the thing that is special is it’s a natural thing with Kevin”. He added that “you know it’s not something he consciously makes a decision to do. It’s just him. What an added benefit to be a natural leader, but an ultimate team player at the same time. Characteristics that you just value and appreciate”.