During the introductory press conference for new Pittsburgh Steelers GM Omar Khan, the question was raised as to how Khan plans to follow in the footsteps of long-time Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert as the new man in the chair, while also attempting to create his own legacy as the man in charge of the front office.
“I don’t know if I look at it as that, specifically,” Khan responded when asked about following Colbert’s legacy. “He’s always a phone call away for me. There’s not going to be a lot of change here. I mean, I obviously have some ideas that I want to implement and put in place, but I don’t foresee a lot of change.”
Khan also mentioned Colbert being one phone call away earlier in the presser when extending thanks to his predecessor, mentor, and longtime co-worker in the front office, acknowledging that the two have worked together in the Steelers’ organization for over 20 years together, calling it “an honor” to have worked with Colbert for so long.
In today’s NFL where turnover of the football and front office rosters are a regular occurrence, the Pittsburgh Steelers have really bucked that trend, being an ongoing presence of stability and consistency in their pursuit of fielding a competitive roster to win football games and push for championships. This stability is highlighted by the long-term working relationship between Khan and Colbert, as well as the further comments by Khan stating that he doesn’t see a lot of change coming in terms of how things will be done in the front office now that he has taken the role of general manager.
This likely was a key factor in the decision to hire Khan as general manager for owner Art Rooney II that wants to have the franchise operate in a similar manner as it has in the past, not looking to completely shake the boat in terms of how things are done in Pittsburgh.
The same can be said for HC Mike Tomlin who Khan also spoke about in his press conference. Given the two’s long-working relationship with one another and comfortability with each other in their respective roles, Khan likely was an easy favorite by Tomlin to replace Colbert as acting GM given the fact that Tomlin and Colbert worked so well together since he was hired as head coach and that Colbert has groomed Khan for this role for the better part of 20 years.
While it can be expected that Khan will implement some new strategies when it comes to team building via the NFL Draft, trades, and free agency, his respect and reverence for Colbert likely mean that he will follow a lot of the similar trends he set rather than attempt to blaze his own path. It remains to be seen exactly what role Colbert will take up with the team now that he is stepping down from the GM position. However, given the two’s strong relationship with one another, we shouldn’t be surprised to see Colbert still have a hand in the actions of the Steelers’ front office as the long-time mentor and trusted friend to Omar Khan.