The Pittsburgh Steelers are in the midst of a serious transition this offseason, though they are well on their way in terms of figuring out the next steps. They have already identified and acquired the player they believe will be the successor to quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, drafting Kenny Pickett in the first round.
Next, they have to figure out who their next general manager will be as Kevin Colbert steps down following a couple of decades in that seat. They interviewed 16 candidates prior to the draft, and intend to hold a final round of interviews soon. But Colbert will continue to function as general manager until a new one is named. And either way, whether he has a role in the organization or not, he’s not going anywhere.
Colbert is a Pittsburgh guy, in case you’ve forgotten. Born in the Steel City, student at North Catholic and Robert Morris University, he has been around the Pittsburgh Steelers all his life, even while he worked in other organizations before finally being ‘brought home’ in 2000.
“I’ll be a fan. That won’t change”, Colbert old Randy Baumann while appearing on WDVE Radio yesterday. “I mean, it’ll be from a different angle and a different approach, but even if I’m not at the stadium, your heart’s always gonna be with Coach [Mike] Tomlin and the players and Art [Rooney II], and everything we tried to put together and hope that it’s a successful endeavor”.
Of course, he’ll be watching the team that he built this year. Presumably, he’ll be watching the guy that he drafted in the hopes of being the Steelers’ next franchise quarterback, at least for the next four years, and potentially for the next couple of decades, if he really hit a home run.
With all that being said, at the end of the day, I’m still betting that Colbert remains in the organization, the way Ozzie Newsome transitioned within the Baltimore Ravens organization. While he ceded responsibility to Eric DeCosta, he remains in the role of Senior Vice President—Colbert already wears the Vice President tag in Pittsburgh.
Building up the Steelers has been the culmination of his life’s work in football, and no question it’s something in which he took an immense amount of pride. You saw the emotions come through when he was asked to reflect on where he felt he was leaving the team on Saturday, a moment he admits caught even him off guard.
Imagine being a Steelers fan and then being able to build the Steelers’ roster. That’s the life Colbert’s been leading. While he has earned plenty of respect from many corners, he has also been subject to his fair share of criticism. With this draft class, however, his final legacy is put in motion. Will he have built one more Super Bowl winner on his way out the door?