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Steelers’ Kevin Colbert: Sometimes you have to draft character risks

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Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert announced last week that he was cutting running back Chris Rainey, just hours after Rainey was arrested — and just nine months after Colbert drafted Rainey, despite character concerns stemming from Rainey’s college career. But Colbert says that doesn’t make him think he can’t draft another character risk this year.

Colbert told TribLive Radio that the issues with Rainey and with fourth-round pick Alameda Ta‘amu, who was arrested for drunk driving, won’t necessarily stop the Steelers from drafting other players with character red flags.

“Going forward, does that mean that you are not going to look at guys who have risk?” Colbert said. “No, I think that is unrealistic because a lot of the guys in the draft pool do have character challenges. It is up to us to assess that and determine if we want to take the risk. If we do, we have to be ready not only if the player does well but the consequences if it doesn‘t work.”

Colbert said the Steelers have passed on players who have great talent because they didn’t trust those players to keep their noses clean off the field. But he also said that sometimes you have to take risks.

“We do homework on players, and we will reject significant players,” Colbert said. “I am talking about first-round talents that [we] decide we don‘t want to assume the risk if they do have a character issue. But when we do assume the risk, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn‘t. Obviously, we had two cases this year that didn‘t work for us and that falls on me because I am the guy who said we can assume this risk.”

And just because the Steelers were burned twice in last year’s draft, that doesn’t mean they’ll only consider choir boys in this year’s draft.

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32 Responses to “Steelers’ Kevin Colbert: Sometimes you have to draft character risks”
  1. Deb says: Jan 18, 2013 2:23 PM

    That’s a sound strategy, and I agree completely.

    But if Manti Te’o is still on the boards when we draft, please, please … in addition to the enormous character issues, just remember two words: Eddie Lacy.

  2. Steeley McBeam says: Jan 18, 2013 2:36 PM

    Passed on Dez Bryant when Hines Ward was the only WR on the roster not named Stefan Logan just days after trading Santiono Holmes.

  3. dalucks says: Jan 18, 2013 2:39 PM

    He has a point in a unique way. I think he means that the talent outweigh the risk but you would rather know the character issues before you draft a guy instead of being blindsided by them once he is on the team and the season has started.
    Atleast during the draft process, once you identify the character issues then you can come up with a plan on how to help the football player with his issues. For example, if I guy has a drinking problem then you can offer to put him through a rehab program as he is a member of the team.
    The problem is the athletes that lie about their issues and their agents who do not disclose the information to the teams.

  4. sudz28 says: Jan 18, 2013 2:57 PM

    Great call. This is how you end up with the best organization in all of professional sports! Love this class organization, too bad all franchises can’t be so good.

  5. vincentvega513 says: Jan 18, 2013 3:08 PM

    Mike Brown just smiled.

  6. cliverush says: Jan 18, 2013 3:10 PM

    The Pats do this if after an interview they feel it is worth the risk. Sometimes the kid just smoked weed or got into a beef. They are kids after all. A good team will help them to shape a good character through hard work and responsibility. After being the BMOC in college and high school, a month in an NFL camp can reveal a lot.

  7. ravenator says: Jan 18, 2013 3:10 PM

    Not only were they burned in the draft, they were burned by that first rd pick. How many regular season snaps did DeCastro take? Certainly looks like Ravens drafted better now. Cheers!

  8. stainlessstill says: Jan 18, 2013 3:11 PM

    There’s a reason why the Super Bowl representatives in the AFC since 2001 has been the Patriots (5) Steelers (3) and Colts (2), pure Conference domination. That’s 10 years worth of those 3 teams representing in February, with the Patriots working on their 6th appearance. In many of those years, the same teams had to go through each other to get to the next level. Steelers are a model franchise no matter what the players decide to do off-field & things said in this article proves it.

  9. ravenator says: Jan 18, 2013 3:11 PM

    Ozzie Newsome > Kevin Colbert

  10. ravenator says: Jan 18, 2013 3:13 PM

    Steeler fans should do themselves a favor by staying off Raven threads. Your team posted an 8-8 record this year as the only AFC team to fail to make the playoffs from the previous year, how sad.

  11. cmarsh64 says: Jan 18, 2013 3:17 PM

    Wow! It’s a great call when the Steelers draft a Red flag player but let Dallas or the Raiders do the same and the media is all over it. Guess it’s OK when Big Ben has woman issues and remains on the team.Guess his motor cycle accident was a good move too driving with a license and no helmet.

  12. steelerdeathstar says: Jan 18, 2013 3:20 PM

    When you really look at it, the Steelers aren’t so very different than many other NFL franchises. They’ve had their share of players who have proven to have one sort of issue or another…
    The Steelers are a very solid organization, one of the NFL’s best over the years, no doubt…but let’s not pretend that they’ve been squeaky-clean either.

  13. 808ninerfan says: Jan 18, 2013 3:25 PM

    Looks like Te’o is becoming a steeler next year

  14. stainlessstill says: Jan 18, 2013 3:27 PM

    How can you be squeaky clean? The Patriots have been doing shady things since Bellichick got there. Hell, they’ve been playing musical chairs and abusing the NFL’s FA market for years now. Doesn’t make them a bad organization, just business. Nobody is squeaky clean, these players are young lads who have millions shoved into their face, but bad players are lucky to have organizations like the Steelers or Patriots to go to.

  15. tedmurph says: Jan 18, 2013 3:42 PM

    steelers passed on Byrant because they drafted Pouncey 18th, an almost can’t miss player with no baggage, at a position of just as much need. Nobody knows if Bryant was off their board due to charachter issues(except them).


    stainlessstill says:Jan 18, 2013 3:27 PM

    The Patriots have been doing shady things since Bellichick got there. Hell, they’ve been playing musical chairs and abusing the NFL’s FA market for years now


    Can you give an example of that? One would do.

  16. benroethlisberger7 says: Jan 18, 2013 3:45 PM

    Best football minds in the game are in our building. Jealous?

  17. steelcurtainn says: Jan 18, 2013 3:47 PM

    The Ravens have drafted all this supposed to be great talent and won’t have nothing to show for after this sunday but another playoff loss. How Sad! At least the Steelers have been 2-1 in superbowls over the past few years. Kevin Colbert shows he’s notches above his peers in the division and NFL for that matter.

  18. oldirtyman says: Jan 18, 2013 3:48 PM

    Jealous Ravens fans are so funny, they all wish they could have been born in Western PA. Ravens will never be in the same class as the Steelers, 49ers, Patriots, or Cowboys. One Lombardi Trophy does not cut it!

  19. kilo0986 says: Jan 18, 2013 4:01 PM

    We’re one of the only 3 AFC teams to make it to the superbowl repeatedly in the last 8 year’s (2-1). What’s truly sad is having such a “great” team and only being able to brag about “how close we got” or how good their regular season record is lmao. That’s what I call truly pathetic. In the end, Steelers will always be on top and the filthy pathetic birds will be tied for 2nd with the Bengals.

  20. superschrec says: Jan 18, 2013 4:22 PM

    Please tell me when the Steelers started drafting players with known character risks? This organization has for years been building teams off the draft and the occasional free agent. And besides Rainey they just don’t pick those guys. ie a Dez Bryant. But If Manti Te’o is there is he really considered a character risk? Little crazy in the head but hell of a football player. Hell he was up for the Heisman. I don’t know if comes there I wouldn’t think the Steelers would pass unless they were sold on injury prone Sean Spence.

  21. unbiased75 says: Jan 18, 2013 5:20 PM

    It’s all about risk vs reward. They took two character risks on day 2 of the draft. That’s much different than drafting a known turd in the first round.

  22. coachbeck says: Jan 18, 2013 6:39 PM

    So when the bengals take character risks its bad but now the steelers do it and its just good business lol. How funny. Fact is you win some and you lose some. Pitt needs to take harasser risks because the roster is not as talented

  23. coachbeck says: Jan 18, 2013 6:41 PM

    Mike Brown > Kevin Colbert

    Can’t argue with his drafts lately. Pitt has been reaching in the draft since Tomlin has been there.

  24. mazblast says: Jan 18, 2013 7:11 PM

    If this means they’re considering drafting Manti Te’uh-oh, I may have to reconsider my loyalties after rooting for the Steelers since age 7, back in the Sixties.

  25. dontstabmeray says: Jan 18, 2013 8:03 PM

    Steelers 3-0 in last 3 AFCCG
    Ravens soon to be 0-3 in last 3 AFCCG


  26. randallflagg52 says: Jan 18, 2013 9:09 PM

    benroethlisberger7 says:
    Jan 18, 2013 3:45 PM
    Best football minds in the game are in our building. Jealous?


    Are these the same minds that drafted studs Limas Swede and Mendenhall over Ray Rice?

    Or drafted duds like Ziggy Hood, Cameron Heyward, Mike Adams and David DeCastro?

  27. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 18, 2013 9:22 PM

    Pm ravenator bias over ten per cent are ravenator posts.. Steeler fans are not happy…smh

  28. Nofoolnodrool says: Jan 18, 2013 9:24 PM

    Is there areason ravenator gets to post and steeler fans can’t on their own thread? Let us know and will just post on other threads.

  29. Deb says: Jan 18, 2013 9:29 PM

    Wow … so Mazblast gets to make a Manti Te’o comment on this thread, but I was censored for that? Why? Oh … that’s right … you aren’t required to have a rational reason for censoring people.

    Well, I’m concerned when our GM starts talking about making allowances for character issues in the middle of this Te’o media storm. And I do think he should remember how Alabama’s Eddie Lacy bowled over that phantom Notre Dame linebacker. You may not think that’s a relevant comment. But it is.

  30. blackngold4life says: Jan 18, 2013 9:46 PM

    At pick #17 in the 2013 draft…the Steelers select Manti Two of Notre Dame

  31. blackngold4life says: Jan 18, 2013 9:53 PM

    If the Steelers counted every AFCCG THEY lost it would still be more then the Ratbirds been to.. we don’t count those..we count Lombardi Trophies

  32. ravenator says: Jan 21, 2013 6:26 PM


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