The career of Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger obviously figures to end on Sunday in Baltimore if the team fails to make the playoffs. Additionally, it is now being reported that Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is expected to follow Roethlisberger out the door a few months from now.
According to the NFL Network on Sunday morning, Colbert, who has been with the Steelers since 2000, is expecting this 2021 season to be his last one as a general manager. His contract runs through the 2022 NFL Draft, and he has reportedly told people he intends to stay on the job through then. It’s then expected that he’ll retire sooner rather than later after the draft.
Colbert has admitted since the start of the 2020 season that he essentially has a year-to-year agreement with the organization.
“My status is what it is, and everybody’s comfortable with that”, Colbert said in September of 2020. “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”.
Colbert has helped guide the Steelers to two Super Bowl championships since arriving in 2000. The team’s record since he arrived his 225-124-3.
It’s been widely speculated for some time that Colbert and Roethlisberger have essentially been tied to the hip that both would ultimately exit the Steelers at the same time.
If indeed Colbert does end his career with the Steelers this offseason, it’s a good bet that either Brandon Hunt or Omar Khan would likely be promoted to take his place. Even so, team president Art Rooney II did say last offseason that when the time comes to search for a new general manager, “we’d look at opening up the situation and doing a search”. They obviously would have to, of course. The revision of the Rooney Rule from last year requires that teams interview at least one external minority candidate for any general manager or equivalent position.
UPDATE (10:24 AM): The Post-Gazette’s Gerry Dulac is pushing back on the initial reporting, indicating Colbert has not told anyone he will retire after the 2022 draft. Dulac goes on to say his sources say it would be a surprise to see Colbert leave after the draft.
“Colbert’s contract runs through the completion of the 2022 draft, but sources indicate it would be something of a surprise if he would direct the entire offseason operation – scouting and preparing for the NFL draft – then decide to leave before the start of the 2022 regular season.”