Not exactly the most pressing Pittsburgh Steelers news of the week but an interesting story down in Jacksonville that has some ties to the Steelers. Despite being hired by the Jaguars in February, Karim Kassam has already left his position with the the team. That news was initially reported by multiple media outlets before being confirmed by Kassam on his Twitter account Thursday.
I enjoyed my time with the Jaguars. I have had the opportunity to work with great teams, and I look forward to doing so again.
— Karim Kassam (@professormullet) May 27, 2021
Kassam was hired by the Steelers as their Analytics & Football Research Coordinator back in 2015 to 2019. He then left Pittsburgh to take a job with the language app Duolingo. He got back into sports, first with the Minnesota Twins and then the Jags.
It’s unclear why he suddenly departed from the team. CBS’ Jason La Canfora (and all these reports should be taken with a grain of salt) said he’s heard Kassam is a headstrong individual and perhaps didn’t mesh well with another Type A personality in new Jaguars’ head coach Urban Meyer.
Here’s what La Canfora opined about the situation.
“I’ve heard from people in the NFL and MLB that Kassam can be very headstrong and difficult at times to work with, but that was known before the hire. When viewed within the sphere of the history of this franchise, the many interpersonal issues between coaches/execs, problems between execs, issues between the front office and locker room and issues between the coaches and players, well, Meyer sure has a unique way of building a foundation and changing the culture.”
It’s unknown if those are any of the reasons why Kassam left the Steelers.
Pittsburgh isn’t known as an analytics team. With long-time, old-school management led by Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin, the team prefers to trust the tape and their gut over what the numbers say. In replacing Kassam, the team brought on Tosin Kazeem and Jay Whitmire as his replacements. But the Steelers have lagged behind the majority of the league when it comes to the growing trend of analytics. It’s possible Kassam could reunite with the Steelers but it’s impossible to guess what those odds are.
So far this offseason, the only front office move we know the team has made is hiring Darrel Young to replace Terry Cousin as their Player Development/Engagement Coordinator.