After 22 years as general manager of his hometown team, Kevin Colbert is stepping away from his role with the Pittsburgh Steelers.
With him goes an era that was rather lucrative for the Steelers, who won two Super Bowls under Colbert’s guidance, building rosters each and every year.
Along with that, Colbert goes out as a member of the old guard in the NFL at the GM position. For 22 years, Colbert did things in an old-school way, reaching the mountaintop of his process in a rather unique way overall.
Prior to landing in the NFL in 1984 as a scout with BLESTO (Bears, Lions, Eagles, Steelers Talent Organization), where he served for season before landing with the Miami Dolphins as a college scout from 1985-89. Following his time in South Beach, Colbert joined the Lions’ organization as the Pro Scouting Director, where he spent 10 seasons before the making his move to the Steelers, holding down the Director of Football Operations and GM titles for 22 seasons.
Despite being in the NFL for 38 seasons, Colbert wasn’t in football originally, having spent time as a basketball graduate assistant at Robert Morris University for three seasons before becoming the head coach for a year in 1981. Colbert then left for Ohio Wesleyan University to be their backfield coach and recruiting coordinator from 1981-1983, and served as the school’s head baseball coach in 1984 before making the jump to the NFL.
Appearing in the second hour of The Mark Madden Show Wednesday afternoon, Colbert discussed his unique path to GM of the Steelers, stating that it was a difficult path — one that might not ever happen again.
“Yeah, it’s a little different. And honestly, I think back on how I got here, and being able to survive as long as I have, I’m glad no one picked up on that too early, along the way, but it was an unusual path,” Colbert said to Madden, according to audio via iHeart Radio. “And, you know, I think what I always recommend to young folks that are trying to progress in the business, I said, ‘read the bios of different folks and look at the paths they took and understand that, you know, everybody comes from a different venue.’
“Like, the path that I took was probably a little more unusual,” Colbert added. “I mean, there’s ex-players, there’s ex-coaches, but really, if you have a dedication to the game and you work hard at it in some form or fashion, you should be successful.”
Colbert, clearly, was very successful in Pittsburgh, overseeing the two Super Bowl championships, 14 playoff appearances, 10 division titles, and three conference championships.
In today’s game, if you aren’t in football longterm overall, there’s very little chance you’ll reach the mountaintop of the front office across the league like Colbert once did. Sure, he had 16 seasons in the NFL prior to landing in Pittsburgh, but a baseball and basketball background prior to his NFL experience is rather unique and might never be replicated again.
His dedication to the game — and to the Steelers — over the last 22 years is unmatched. That hard work and dedication led to great success, success that should land him in the Pro Football Hall of Fame down the line.