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.