In the latest edition of the Move The Sticks podcast, NFL Network analysts Daniel Jeremiah and Bucky Brooks spent the beginning portion of the segment highlighting the recent front office changes in the Pittsburgh Steelers organization this offseason. The two discuss the GM hire of Omar Khan and how that matches the process of being a “homegrown” organization that develops their players, coaching staff, and front office members to elevate them into more prominent roles down the line.
However, right after mentioning the Khan hire, Brooks made sure to give credit where credit is due to the Steelers and their decision to bring in Andy Weidl from the Philadelphia Eagles as their new assistant general manager:
“The difference is they bring in Andy Weidl from an outside organization to maybe add some new life, some new blood to the pipeline,” said Brooks regarding the Weidl hire. “And so it’s a mix of new and old, but it allows them to kind of retain the flavor that has always been part of the Pittsburgh Steeler mystique and tradition while also branching out and bringing in maybe some outside ideas.”
As Brooks highlights in his comments regarding Weidl as well as in the initial report on the hiring of Weidl covered by Alex Kozora for the site, Weidl does bring a wealth of experience from the outside to Pittsburgh, having been with the New Orleans Saints, Baltimore Ravens, and Eagles in the scouting department for over two decades, rising through the ranks as a respected executive that has helped piece together impressive draft classes that have led to Super Bowl championships with the Ravens and Eagles within the last ten years.
However, while Weidl does bring outside ideas and experience to the table for Pittsburgh, he also can be looked at as a “homegrown” guy himself, having started out with the Steelers as an intern back in 1998 and 1999 before moving off to New Orleans. Being born and raised in Pittsburgh, Weidl knows what the Steelers mean to the city of Pittsburgh and how the organization is run, likely making him a great fit in the front office despite being considered an “outside hire”.
Weidl not only fits in Pittsburgh due to his upbringing and previous experience with the team, but also thanks to the relationships he has built with new GM Omar Khan and HC Mike Tomlin as Jeremiah also mentions during the podcast.
“An interesting thing about Andy too is Andy’s known Omar for over 20 years. They worked together with the Saints,” says Daniel Jeremiah on Weidl’s relationship with Khan. “I think that’s a great fit. Andy actually played in college against Mike Tomlin,” Jeremiah follows up. “So, you’ve got some synergy and some connection there.”
As we well know, the NFL is a league of connections and relationships, often being the case of ‘who you know’ where we hirings for the coaching staff or front office. The Pittsburgh Steelers are no exception to this rule as they are one of the closest, relationship-driven organizations not only in the National Football League, but in all of sports. Therefore, it only makes sense that Weidl wasn’t only brought in due to his accomplishments and experiences with other franchises, but also thanks to the previous relationships he had with Khan and Tomlin. Khan even went so far to call Weidl a ‘Steelers-type of person’ in a recent interview on the team’s YouTube channel, being comfortable with what he brings to the table.
In the case of Weidl’s connection with Mike Tomlin, Jeremiah details the two’s shared battles on the gridiron with Tomlin playing at William & Mary as a wide receiver and Weidl at Villanova as an offensive lineman. We are well aware of the weight Tomlin puts into relationships when filling out his own coaching staff and when looking to add players to the roster during the pre-draft process, so this little nugget of he and Weidl facing off against either back in college is some nice new information detailing a connection between the head coach and new assistant GM, while it may not be a defined as Weidl’s connection to Khan.
Overall, the addition of Andy Weidl feels like a great move by Pittsburgh, adding an experienced talent evaluator with a proven track record with outside organizations, but also brings that “Steelers mindset” you look for as a former intern and Pittsburgh-native that jump-started his career here and has the relationships with the general manager and head coach to fit in rather seamlessly as they all work together to get Pittsburgh back into annual title contention.