It’s easy to forget when you’re right smack dab in the middle of an NFL season—quite frankly, I had completely forgotten—but we learned earlier in the offseason that Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert turned down the conversation over signing a contract extension because he felt that he had reached a point in his life in which he would take his job on a year-to-year basis.
Colbert has been with the Steelers for roughly two decades now and has put together two Super Bowl-winning teams, plus another that has gotten there, and a couple more that have played in the conference finals. They have been among the winningest teams in the league during that span, and the list of accolades could really go on. That’s what happens when the rosters you put together achieve success.
President Art Rooney II was recently on Ian Rapoport’s podcast, and while it was a fairly short segment, they hit on a number of subjects, the future of Colbert being one of them, but Rooney didn’t have a tone to offer. “Not much to say about Kevin at this point other than that we agreed to talk after the season, which is the way that we have normally done Kevin’s contract, so it really wasn’t anything unusual”, he said.
“After next year’s draft, we’ll sit down and see where we go”, Rooney went on to say. “Overall, Kevin’s done a great job for us. It’s certainly his decision in terms of how we proceed. I think he’s at a point in his life where he’s got to make some decisions on those kinds of things, but right now, we’re in the middle of a season, he’s in the middle of getting ready for next year’s draft, so none of us are too worried about the contract right now”.
While it’s not surprising to hear him say that it’s essentially up to Colbert as to whether or not he will get another contract—generally, that decision is up to your employer—it’s still notable to hear him say it and to have it on record.
The Steelers haven’t had the best season, either, so the timing of the comments are also somewhat relevant. The organization may be fond of Colbert, but they may also have an issue with the idea of continuing on with somebody in his position who is unwilling to commit long-term.
Not that the franchise has a history of casting people aside and making flippant decisions when it comes to personnel, whether it’s on the roster, the coaching staff, or in the front office. Stability and consistency have gone hand in hand. Colbert has the track record. And as Rooney reiterated, he will be here until he chooses not to be.