As with any hire, there will be detractors of the Pittsburgh Steelers promoting Omar Khan as the in-house replacement to Kevin Colbert. Some will say the team shouldn’t have stayed internal, that it’s too status quo, and that Khan isn’t a “football guy” after serving as the team’s cap and financial maestro for the last 21 years. But a confident Khan spoke to his ability to do the job during his first press conference as Steelers’ GM Friday, setting a high bar in an organization that already has great expectations.
“I’m confident that time will show this was the right decision for this franchise,” Khan said in opening remarks before taking questions. “I’m excited. I can tell you that I don’t take anything for granted and I understand the expectations that come with this job. But I can assure everyone that the expectations that I set for myself or even greater.”
Khan heads the top of a transformational Steelers offseason with more changes over the last four months. To summarize, here’s the bulk of them.
Steelers’ Offseason Changes
– New QB (Ben Roethlisberger retires, Mitch Trubisky signed, Kenny Pickett drafted)
– New GM (Kevin Colbert retires, Omar Khan hired)
– New DC (Keith Butler retires, Teryl Austin promoted)
– Busiest Free Agency In Team History (James Daniels, Mitch Trubisky topping the list)
– Front Office Changes (Andy Weidl assistant GM, Sheldon White high-ranking personnel role, Dan Colbert promoted)
Those are the big ones but there were others, like the team’s CFO retiring, and ones that may be coming later in the offseason. Given Dan Colbert’s promotion, it’s possible Phil Kreidler retires.
Pittsburgh no longer finds themselves as Super Bowl contenders, AFC North favorites, or even a likely playoff team. They’re on the outside-looking-in with many analysts believing the Steelers could have their first losing season under Tomlin. The North is ultra-competitive with established, high-level quarterback play, and the rest of Pittsburgh’s schedule is unrelenting. But the Steelers have taken on a challenge before, losing Ben Roethlisberger for the season in 2019 and nearly making the playoffs, finishing 8-8 after dropping their final three games, and climbing out of a 1-3 hole in 2021 to make the Wild Card game, though Kansas City gave them a quick exit.
For Khan, his GM dreams are a long time coming. He’s been interviewing for the job since 2010, nearly getting the Seattle job but losing out to John Schneider. Last year, he came incredibly close to being hired by the Houston Texans but any potential deal fell through as Houston pivoted to Nick Caserio. Some will wonder why those other teams went elsewhere. But the Rooneys and Steelers know Khan better than anyone else. And now he has his shot.
All Khan can do now is the task at hand and if the results follow just like Colbert, he’ll run the Steelers as long as he wants.