Not only did the Pittsburgh Steelers make a move at general this offseason—brought about by Kevin Colbert’s stepping down from that role—the team also fundamentally changed the structure of the front office in the process through expansion.
While the changes are likely not even done yet, and may even be years in development, perhaps the most critical change was the adoption of the role of an assistant general manager. Considering the Steelers never had a formal general manager before Colbert, it stands to reason that they never had an assistant before him—and he never had one.
Omar Khan does, though, and it’s someone he’s familiar with—Pittsburgh native Andy Weidl, with whom he actually worked before he even got to the Steelers, though, coincidentally, after Weidl had already been there himself.
“I’ve known Andy since 2000 in New Orleans. We spent a year together, and from day one, I quickly learned how good of an evaluator Andy was”, he recently told Pat Kirwan and Jim Miller while appearing on Movin’ the Chains. “He’s a class act, a great person, very loyal. I said this in my press conference: he’s a Steeler. He’s our type of person. He started here, he’s from Pittsburgh”.
As you’re most likely aware—especially since I already mentioned it once—Weidl is indeed ‘from Pittsburgh’ two times over. He was a player personnel assistant under Tom Donahoe in 1998-99 prior to the turnover to Colbert in 2000, after which he moved on to the Saints, overlapping with Khan for one year before the latter joined Colbert’s staff in 2001 in Pittsburgh.
The first thing we’ve heard about pretty much everybody who has talked about Weidl is how immediately obvious his evaluating skills are as a personnel man, an asset that should serve Khan well as the general manager. He should bear a lot of the responsibility of the hardcore evaluating efforts Colbert previously handled.
“There’s a lot of great things to say about Andy. For me, when I was looking for someone in that role, I was very fortunate that we were able to work things out”, Khan acknowledged. “He was just the right fit for me and for us here at the Steelers, and [we’re] excited to have him”.
Weidl has spent the past six years with the Philadelphia Eagles, where he had moved up to the rank of vice president of player personnel by 2019. In that capacity, he was charged with the task of setting up the team’s draft board, which Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette has previously said he will do in Pittsburgh, as well.
It is less clear exactly what the hierarchy will be in terms of ultimately making draft decisions, though. Presumably they will ideally retain a consensus approach, which previously existed between owner, head coach, and general manager. But now Weidl as assistant general manager is another key voice in that ideal consensus, one Khan and the organization believe will fit right in and harmonize with the choir.