We are now just a few short days away from the NFL Draft, which is also the pinnacle of each team’s respective scouting department. All those countless hours and miles traveled visiting prospect’s games, the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine and pro days nationwide come to a head beginning Thursday night. For Coach Mike Tomlin and General Manager Kevin Colbert, this weekend will also be a bittersweet one, as Colbert is set to step down from his GM role following the draft.
Since Tomlin’s hiring in 2007, Colbert has been the only GM he’s ever worked with, and we all witnessed the fruits of their labor in their first draft together, which yielded Pro Bowl linebackers Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley with their first two picks. Earlier today at the team’s annual pre-draft press conference, the two were pressed on what this weekend will mean to one another as their final go-round approaches.
“You know, I’ve tried not to think about it, to be quite honest with you,” Tomlin said, according to the Pittsburgh Steelers YouTube channel. “It went through my mind a little bit some when we were traveling because we’ve just had such great times over the years traveling and gathering information, the necessary information to get to know the young men. But we’ve been up against it pretty good and hustling so it hadn’t been a lot of those moments but obviously it has been a pleasure to work alongside him and we’ll see where the road leads us. “
Colbert shared a similar sentiment, citing the grind that is the NFL offseason hasn’t yet allowed him to face the totality of his final draft at Tomlin’s side.
“No, not at all honestly,” Colbert said. “Just to echo coach’s comments, listen it’s been a great process to work with coach, you don’t take those things for granted. He loves this part of the process and that always makes it an easier endeavor. Its fun to be out there and watch him interact with these young men and their families. And the respect he commands on the road, it’s very impressive. The information that he comes away with that I might have missed is very helpful, and it’s been a nice, great working relationship but it’s more than that. No doubt you share the highs, you share the lows and it’s been great but quite honestly, we haven’t had the time to think about that. Now, I think that time will come whenever it comes, but right now, we gotta get this thing right, and that’s what we’re focused on.”
One thing that elicited smiles from both towards the end of the presser is their affinity of sitting down for dinner with prospects, while checking out the regional dining that the pro day circuit has to offer.
“You know, we enjoy the informal settings of breaking bread with the young people in their towns and getting to know them, and hopefully, you know, that’s a setting where we can legitimately get to know them in a non-football way,” Tomlin said.