Sixteen individuals have interviewed to replace Kevin Colbert as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ next GM. And according to Colbert, that person will come from that 16-person list. In speaking to reporters Sunday, Colbert said the team is done interviewing candidates for the position. Up next will be a second round of interviews with finalists that will take place following late April’s draft.
Here’s the CVS receipt list of names interviewed in the first round.
To break the list down a bit more, it included two internal names (Khan, Hunt), three ex-GMs (Reese, Spielman, Whaley), while the rest would be first-time GMs who currently work for other organizations. Many of them, however, have Steelers ties.
As Colbert said today, and as he’s said throughout this process, the team won’t go through its second interview of candidates – presumably a finalists list – until after April’s draft. While the Steelers haven’t put a timetable on it, it appears a new GM will be announced in May and take over immediately. Colbert may stay with the team in an advisory role but would no longer be its general manager.
The first round of interviews have been a “get to know you” session for owner Art Rooney II. According to Colbert, Mike Tomlin hasn’t even been in those meetings. Tomlin will get involved come the second interviews, which will be a more detailed and specific meeting of how that person would run the team. It’s unknown how many candidates will be considered finalists but it’s likely to be a list of 3-5 names, perhaps a mix of internal and external (new and ex-GM) candidates.
Whoever the team chooses will have big shoes to fill. Colbert is one of the longest-tenured GMs and helped lead the Steelers to a pair of Super Bowl wins while appearing in a third. He’s one of the most well-liked and respected GMs in the league and has shown a great working relationship with Tomlin, a pair of old-school, football junkies who fully understand each other.
Internal candidates like Brandon Hunt and Omar Khan have been considered the favorites for the job, with Hunt perhaps being the frontrunner. Staying in-house after an entire offseason cycle, and a busy one at that, would make the most sense. Hunt and Khan have been spotted alongside Tomlin and Colbert at key Pro Days, perhaps getting them familiar with the team’s next quarterback and of the franchise. But with such a wide and qualified pool of people, it’s difficult to talk in any absolutes or guarantees about this process. All it takes is for one outsider to truly impress to get the team to change course, just as it did in hiring Tomlin back in 2007.