The Pittsburgh Steelers first hired Kevin Colbert in what was a general-manager-equivalent position in 2000. He did so well in that role that he was formally given the title of general manager, the first individual in the organization’s history to do so.
He announced earlier in the offseason that he would be stepping down from the general manager chair following the 2022 NFL Draft, after which point the organization will hire a new general manager, and they have already interviewed with more than a dozen candidates, including two internal candidates.
It will mark a radical change for the organization after more than two decades as half of the team’s brain trust, including the past 15 years with head coach Mike Tomlin, but as much as he believes it’s time for him to move on in his own life, he also sees it as potentially timely for the organization as well.
“We just reached a point in our lives where, personally, it’s the right thing for me and my family”, he told Chris Simms for Pro Football Talk at the Combine yesterday, “and professionally, it’s probably time for someone else to come in with some different ideas and bring some fresh perspectives to a way to accomplish this. We’re gonna be open to that, and, again, I’ll try to help make that decision to best move forward for the organization”.
While the Steelers have interviewed a very large number of candidates for the not-yet-vacant position already, the organization has also been transparent about why they have done so now even though they do not intend to make a hire until a couple of months from now.
Put simply, they only had until March 1 to be permitted to interview with members of other organizations without their teams having the right to block interview requests. From now through the draft, they will still be able to interview with candidates who are not currently part of an organization, however.
The most high-profile name that has been interviewed for the general manager position is Louis Riddick, who has been working for ESPN in recent years as an analyst. A graduate of Pittsburgh, Riddick played safety in the NFL for several seasons in the 1990s, though as a reserve.
He was a pro scout for Washington from 2001-2004 before being promoted to director of pro personnel. From 2008-2013, he was a member of the Philadelphia Eagles organization, working his way back up from pro scout to, again, director of pro personnel, a role he held for four seasons. He has been interviewed a couple of times before for vacant general manager positions in the interim.