If you want to get me to geek out on the most nerdy football thing imaginable, it’s front office hirings. No one visits the Steelers’ front office page more than I do, all in the hopes of catching a new name added – or one removed – from the list.
With Omar Khan now the Pittsburgh Steelers’ GM, the organization may shake up their front office and scouting staff for the first time in literal decades. Pittsburgh has been as cohesive of a group as you’re going to find, with every core front office member with the team a minimum of eight years and some, like College Scouting Director Phil Kreidler, with the team for over 30 seasons.
Changes are coming and already, we know some of them like Sheldon White, Andy Weidl, and Dan Colbert’s promotion. How many – if any – other changes occur, it’s hard to say and with an internal hire like Khan at the top, there may be less turnover. There’s likely some loyalty to Khan and the scouts and vice versa to see this new era through as opposed to packing up and sipping a fruity drink on a beach somewhere. We already know the team intends to hire Sheldon White for a higher-level front office role, potentially replacing Brandon Hunt, who doesn’t seem long for the team (since writing this article Thursday night, Hunt has departed for Philadelphia).
But what other changes could happen? That’s anyone guess. But we’ll take a crack at it. Here’s some possibilities.
Who Could Leave?
There will likely be loyalty to Khan, but it’s certainly possible to see some retirements. Rick Reiprish, Phil Kreidler, and Mike Butler feel like three of the most likely candidates to retire. It’s hard to know exactly how all each man is but let’s just say they could get the early bird special. Reiprish has been in football since 1979, Kreidler since roughly 1991, and Butler since 1983. All three have been valuable to the Steelers’ organization, and Kreidler is one of the most underrated names in the entire organization, a guy who has been with the team about as long as I’ve been alive. But Colbert’s promotion hints at his retirement.
But if there was a time for those guys to exit the football world, now makes sense. They saw through the Kevin Colbert era and a new regime, with an external assistant GM, being put in place. Until this year, I thought Mike Butler had retired, not seeing him anywhere on the Pro Day trail in 2021 but he popped up in a few limited places this year (West Virginia and Maryland).
Mark Gorscak has been in football since at least the 80s (he was the first GM of the Arena League’s Pittsburgh Gladiators in 1987), and eventually, he’s going to hang his 40-yard dash whistle up.
Could anyone else leave? It’s certainly possible. Last year, Doug Whaley theorized the Steelers’ scouting staff remains the same because other teams never approach Pittsburgh’s group. With Colbert out, maybe teams come calling. Longtime scout Dave Petett is also worthy of a promotion, too.
Who Could Be Hired?
Even more guessing here. But a couple names make sense. It’s certainly logical Andy Weidl looks to bring in his brother Casey Weidl who was let go by the Eagles as part of their significant front office turnover. He most recently served as the team’s Director of Scouting Operations and has experience on the pro and college scouting side of things.
Another name who “fits” is Mark Sadowski. Most recently the Chicago Bears College Scouting Director, he was let go earlier this month as new GM Ryan Poles puts together his staff. Sadowski may sound like a name out of left field but he has close ties to Khan. Both went to Tulane and worked with then-head coach Buddy Teevens. Both were then hired by the New Orleans Saints in the late 90s and spent time together there, entering and exiting at similar times (Khan 1996-2000, Sadowski 1998-2005). The two reportedly remain close. In fact, it was Khan who got Sadowski his first job in New Orleans, as cited by this 2020 Athletic article by Dan Pompei.
“Sadowski wants to be an NFL coach. So once a month, he prints out 32 resumes and sends one to every NFL team but gets no responses. After a while, he calls Omar Khan, a friend from Tulane who now is with the Saints.
“If I give you a handful of my resumes, would you mind putting one in the head coach’s mailbox every week?” he says.
Khan initially is hesitant, but he agrees, placing one of Sadowski’s resumes in Mike Ditka’s mailbox every Friday for a couple of months. Finally, Sadowski gets a call from Saints pro personnel director Chet Franklin. He asks if Sadowski is interested in a pro scouting job. Sadowski tells him no. He wants to be a coach. After some back and forth, Sadowski agrees to an interview. Franklin calls him for a second interview.”
(Long story short, Sadowski took the Saints’ offer).
It makes Pittsburgh a logical landing spot for a guy like Sadowski.
Who else could come in? The dots become harder to connect. Maybe Weidl brings in another one of the fired Eagles’ personnel members, Perhaps T.J. McCreight, who Weidl worked with in 2003 and 2004 at Baltimore and then again with the Eagles. Shawn Heinlen was let go as the team’s Southwest Area scout, a region the Steelers don’t have a heavy presence in (though it may now be Chidi Iwuoma’s territory as he’s moved from BLESTO to an area scout role). And there could be names out of the blue who are added.
We’ll certainly be keeping a close eye on any and all front office staffing changes and let you know if they occur.