Anybody who has followed the Pittsburgh Steelers for years and has become familiar with how they do ‘business as usual’ has surely been watching with a keen interest this offseason, not simply because they are being forced into a major period of change, but also because there may be indications of change in their usual business.
Aside from the fact that they are looking for a new quarterback, the organization is also looking for a new general manager for literally the first time in decades. It’s long been assumed that Kevin Colbert’s success would be an in-house name like Brandon Hunt or Omar Khan, but how can you ignore the many, many names they’ve been connected to? And then Colbert spoke yesterday.
“We always have to be open to new ways to do things and more current ways to do things, quite honestly”, Gerry Dulac quoted him as saying for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “I encourage our younger scouts to push me in that regard. But the better solution might be outside the organization. From a professional side, we have to be open to trying to stay ahead of the game”.
The better solution might be outside the organization. Now, that’s a sentence that, when you read it, is fundamentally obvious. But it still reads as notable when it’s coming from one of the members of the Steelers’ brain trust, and Colbert has said that he has been involved in the process of looking for his successor, which has involved speaking to a lot of people from outside the building.
He did say that, in spite of the many interviews that have taken place now, that doesn’t change the hiring timeline. They still intend to make the hire after the 2022 NFL Draft, but this is a period of time during which teams cannot block executives from accepting interview requests, so they want to get them done when they can without restrictions.
Another interesting thing Colbert said about the general manager position is that “It’s always been a football type of role”. That could be an indication that Khan, who is perceived to be more of a numbers executive, is not at the top of their internal list.
Of course, it’s been a long time since the Steelers have been in this sort of position, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that they are taking this time to see what’s out there. Realistically, it’s probably not going to be another 20-plus years before they interview more people for the general manager job, even in an organization as historically stable as Pittsburgh’s is.