Since retiring as general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers last spring, Kevin Colbert has taken up a new role in the organization with a relatively new group within the organization called Lend A Hand. Gerry Dulac chronicled Colbert’s new role for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, which involves Colbert helping retired players take the next step into their post-football life.
“The real purpose is to help all our retired players transition into life after football,” Colbert told Dulac. He added that he’s mostly helping out recently retired players.
“Mostly it’s for the younger, recently retired guys who are trying to transition into that next phase of life.”
Given that Colbert himself is also moving into post-football life after working in the sport since 1984, including 22 years spent with the Steelers from 2000-2022, he has a unique perspective for the guys who are transitioning out of football life. Colbert himself is adjusting to it, so he can relate to players in a different way than someone who never was really involved with the organization.
The Lend A Hand group was founded in 2019 to help players with opportunities afforded to them through the NFL and NFL alumni organizations. One of Colbert’s roles is to help direct players to these opportunities as a way to help them manage a professional life when their days on the gridiron are over. Dulac said that 32 former players were in attendance at the last Lend A Hand meeting.
“It’s a way to give back, really, to the guys who helped you,” Colbert said via the Post-Gazette. “We’re just trying to lend a hand.”
It’s not at all surprising that Colbert still has a role in the organization. It was somewhat expected he would stay on and provide a friendly face and potentially a helping hand to the new-look front office led by current general manager Omar Khan, but Colbert said that his new role doesn’t include any sort of football operations component, although he does occasionally speak with Khan and head coach Mike Tomlin.
It’s great to see Colbert stay involved in a worthy cause, as retired NFL players are often cast aside and don’t usually get a lot of help from the league itself. It’s noteworthy that the Steelers have a program to help players adjust to life after football, and it again shows how much the Steelers care about each and every player that walks through the doors of their facility.
It’s also nice to see that Khan and the new front office seemingly aren’t facing any pressure from Colbert staying around the organization. Being around the team as a friendly face is always a positive, and it’s good that Colbert’s seemingly resisted any urge to be a “shadow GM” and offer his thoughts on football operations. It sounds as if he’s diving headfirst into his new, very important role as he helps the Steelers in a new way.
As Colbert put it, he’s helping the guys who helped him with their play on the field, and it’s got to be attractive to players to know that whenever they choose to hang their cleats up, the Steelers have a team in place to help them get acclimated to their post-football life. Hopefully, with Colbert’s guidance, the organization can expand and help more retired Steelers in the coming years.