Kevin Colbert has been with the Pittsburgh Steelers for two decades, and had a long career prior to that. Now at the age of 63, the general manager has reached a point in his life in which his expectation is to take things one year at a time. In February, for example, he signed a one-year contract extension, which ties him to the team through the 2021 NFL Draft, but not beyond.
Speaking to reporters earlier today before practice, he was asked if he was still operating on a year-to-year basis with his contract, even though there had been no indications since February that anything had changed in that regard.
“My status is what it is, and everybody’s comfortable with that”, he said. “That’s where we requested to be, and Art Rooney was comfortable with that. Coach Tomlin was comfortable with that. And it’s really about us focus on 2020. And when we talk about that, trust me, we never lose sight of what’s going to happen in 2021, be it I be here or I not be here”.
The Steelers have been not only one of the highest-performing teams in the league since Colbert has been in the front office, but also one of the best-drafting teams, and those two things have obvious correlations.
There are some Hall of Famers on his resume, such as Troy Polamalu, who was supposed to be enshrined last month. Ben Roethlisberger is an eventual inevitability as another first-ballot player. Others such as Maurkice Pouncey have a chance. It’s very early on, but T.J. Watt is having a very nice start to his career as well.
More recently, Colbert’s front office has gotten more adventurous on the open market and in the trade front, dealing draft capital that was previously untouchable. The 2019 season marked their first trade up in the first round since 2006, making the jump to get Devin Bush 10th overall. Then in September, they dished out their 2020 first-round pick for Minkah Fitzpatrick, who ended up a first-team All-Pro.
It’s not easy to get into the Hall of Fame as a general manager. There aren’t a ton who do, Bill Polian I believe being the most recent. Does Colbert have the resume? He does get credit for the team drafting Roethlisberger under him, and they’ve won two Super Bowls, going to a third. The majority of general managers in the Hall were also owners or coaches.
But it’s too early to think about that, now. Colbert’s time in Pittsburgh isn’t even done. He is still writing his legacy, and the players he was responsible for drafting will continue to flesh out his resume whenever it is that he chooses to retire.