The Pittsburgh Steelers decided to maintain their tradition of continuity, and named Omar Khan as their new general manager this offseason. Prior to Khan, Kevin Colbert held the position for nearly 22 years. After spending the past six years as vice president of football business administration, Khan steps into arguably the most pivotal role in the organization.
Speaking at his introductory press conference, Khan touched on many points, including football operations and the search and interview process itself. A couple of things that stood out are Khan’s upbringing and his introduction to the Steelers’ culture. Originally from New Orleans and growing up a hardcore New Orleans Saints fan, his father showed him the “Steeler way” at a young age.
“He taught me, you know, about the game. I grew up a die-hard Saints fan, you know. When I used to talk about Ricky Jackson and Pat Swiling, Sam Mills, he’d tell me, he goes, ‘let me teach you about this guy Jack Ham and Jack Lambert,'” Khan said, according to video via the Steelers’ official YouTube page. “I used to know everyone on the Saints team but he would tell me about Joe Greene and Franco Harris.”
There’s no doubt that Steelers fans will appreciate Khan’s upbringing and introduction to the Steelers’ lore. A boy that was once a Saints fan now finds himself running the organization that his father proudly introduced him to.
Khan expounded on that irony now that he’s the general manager of one of the most historically important NFL franchises.
“It’s kind of ironic that, you know, fast forward [and] I end up in Pittsburgh,” Khan added. “I’ve been hearing about those guys. He loved those great players, the great teams, and he knew all about them”
Khan, who’s familiar with Steelers history, also explained what it means to be a “Steelers person,” referring to Colbert and new assistant GM Andy Weidl in that light.
“You have to believe in the Black and Gold. They gotta be loyal. They gotta, you know, fit into our culture here. Just good people. You look though this organization, you get to know the people in this organization. And the guys you’re bringing in, they’re good people”
It speaks volumes to how the Steelers conduct business, the culture, but more importantly, how they view their people. They want those that truly embrace the Steelers, much like Khan. Yes, he might’ve been a Saints fan at one point, but now he’s embraced Pittsburgh and will continue their rich tradition of stability, pride, and football intelligence.