Emotional Kevin Colbert exits as General Manager of the Steelers

NFL: DEC 08 Steelers at Cardinals
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One of the most underrated and overlooked executives in football — undoubtedly by his own preference — is Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert. With the conclusion of the 2022 draft, Colbert exits the franchise after more than 20 years with the team.

His career comes from the book of childhood dreams come true. A teenager growing up in Pittsburgh as the Steelers rose to prominence in the 1970s, Colbert attended Robert Morris University, dabbled in basketball and baseball (he was the head baseball coach at Robert Morris in 1981) before landing in football.

At Ohio Wesleyan, he worked in two sports, working as an assistant coach on the football team and again serving as the head baseball coach, in 1984. That’s when football took over and he found the NFL, starting as a BLESTO scout before attracting the attention of Don Shula and the Dolphins. After five years in Miami, Colbert became the pro scouting director of the Lions for a decade, from 1990 through 1999.

Then came his opportunity to come home. In 2000, he was hired as director of football operations by the Steelers. A decade later, the man who had become the de facto G.M. received the title. He added a V.P. designation in 2016.

At his final press conference following the completion of the 2022 draft, Colbert fought back his emotions.

“I don’t want to say better than,” Colbert said when asked how he was leaving the organization. “I’m proud to say we added to that [trophy] room. It was four trophies. There was four when we got here. And you knew the task. You think about DMR [the late Dan Rooney] and being able to add to that room means a ton. It doesn’t mean it’s over. The next step, I mean we gotta get more than, and we’ll never lose that. But it means a lot.”

Colbert meant a lot to the Steelers. At the Scouting Combine (we’ve re-posted the interview to this article), Colbert left the door open to sticking around. In a very informative look back at Colbert’s career, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette explains that Colbert currently is expected to stick around in a different role.

Colbert made it clear he doesn’t want to be a hindrance to the next G.M. The next G.M., whoever it may be, would be very wise to keep a permanent seat at the table for a man who will do what he has always done. His job. Incredibly well, and without wasting any time trying to make anyone else notice what a great job he was doing.

28 responses to “Emotional Kevin Colbert exits as General Manager of the Steelers

  1. It was time to stop coasting on the decade+ long of above average product that never went anywhere.

  2. Great career for Colbert who showed how to run things effectively behind the public facade. He had excellent drafts (nobody’s perfect) and won 2 SB trophies. He leaves the Steelers with an accurate, long-term prospect at Qb without sacrificing any future draft capital. Watch what happens next year when 6+ teams overdraft Qbs in round 1 that turn into busts like the “great” class of 2018. Well done Kevin!

  3. Congratulations to Kevin Colbert. He was a great executive for the Steelers, and one of the very best in the NFL. Hopefully the next Steeler GM will be as good.

  4. The smartest move he ever made was hiring Dick LeBeau as the defensive coordinator in 2004. That is who truly added “to the room” make no mistake.

  5. My best wishes always go out to whomever enhances the success of the Niners, Steelers and the Raiders. So to you Sir, I wish you the very best and thank you.

  6. Wonder if the next GM will be as committed to Tomlin as Colbert seemed to be.

  7. Colbert did a heckuva job for many years, probably stick around as a consultant type.

  8. At least Colbert had the good sense to pass on NKeal Harry. Thanks Kevin for a job well done. As to him supporting Tomlin it only shows why he is respected by knowledgeable football people.

  9. He never had a bad 1st round pick, until the defensive expert, Tomlin came aboard.

  10. I would not be surprised if David Tepper tried to lure him to Carolina with a boatload of money. If the Khan’s ever decide that they’re serious about running a football team they’d try to lure him over the joker who’s the current GM there. Or maybe he just consults and kicks around Steelers HQ when he feels like it. That doesn’t sound bad either. Total pro though. He’s been criticized for certain moves but I’ve never seen him portrayed negatively ever.

  11. Great GM! Produced a long line of talented players on both sides of the ball (especially WRs). Unfortunately, Tomlin really didn’t get these guys to play to their ability level.

  12. He’s been average at best. Below average the last half of his tenure. The Steelers have slowly gotten considerably worse over that span.

  13. He’s been average at best. Below average the last half of his tenure. The Steelers have slowly gotten considerably worse over that sp

    So average at best? Challenge you to name a current GM that hasn’t had a losing season for 15 straight seasons…..I suggest you turn on the TV and watch some football.

  14. He did a awful job and putting a nfl caliber offensive line in front of Ben the last 5 + yrs of his career which basically cost them a few trips to the sb.

  15. Leave it to Touchback to throw his typical useless, pointless, remark re: a classy individual. Steelers played in 3 SBs and win 2. Colbert probably drafted 4 or 5 Hall of Famers. NE wished they had a GM of his caliber.

  16. Vasteelerfan says:
    May 1, 2022 at 11:37 am
    At least Colbert had the good sense to pass on NKeal Harry

    ———

    Ok man that’s hitting below the belt!

  17. grant35 says:
    May 1, 2022 at 5:03 pm
    Leave it to Touchback to throw his typical useless, pointless, remark re: a classy individual. Steelers played in 3 SBs and win 2. Colbert probably drafted 4 or 5 Hall of Famers. NE wished they had a GM of his caliber.

    41Rate This

    ———————

    Umm, the greatest GM who ever lived resides in Foxborough and has drafted a lot more Hall of Famers and owns 6 rings in the Cap Era.

    Leave it to Pittsburgh fans to overrate every single person to ever come near the colors of black and gold.

    Just because Pitt is arrogant beyond belief with fake Hall of Famers like Jerome Bettis or Tony Dungy, both beyond laughable, or somehow Alan Faneca in but Logan Mankins isn’t, is beyond hilarious to any knolwedgeable fan.

    Brady, Seymour, Wilfork, Mankins, Slater Gronk, Edleman, etc. That is 7 HOFers right there, unless of course the arrogance continues where somehow, some way the media continues to braiwash people as to how champions who dominated their positions with 2 and 3 rings are bot worthy.

    Night night.

  18. Did he recognize Haskins as being on the roster still? This video was posted today wasn’t it?

  19. Touchback has been pretty defensive the last couple of days. Instead of talking about the Patriots draft, he’s on every other team’s threads insulting them for theirs. The young man is worried.

  20. The move to give up a number 1 draft choice for Minkah Fitzpatrick was brilliant. To move up to #10 for Devin Bush, not so much.

  21. Touchback6: put the pipe down Dude. The Patsies have done crap since TB12 left, and judging by the draft they just had, 2022 is going to be a long season. Try not to botch the Top 10 pick next year.

    Night night.

  22. Vasteelerfan says:
    May 1, 2022 at 3:09 p

    So average at best? Challenge you to name a current GM that hasn’t had a losing season for 15 straight seasons…..I suggest you turn on the TV and watch some football.

    ———-

    I always laugh with pity when Steelers fans toss out that cherry-picked statistic. Over that span, they finished 8-8 four times, so not losing seasons, but not winning seasons either. They didn’t make the playoffs in six of those seasons, and lost in the wildcard round five times. They haven’t even won a championship since 2008! Lol almost 15 years ago since they competed. I watch plenty of football, thanks. Steelers have been steadily dwindling for over a decade.

  23. I’m not a Steeler fan but have huge respect for Colbert’s work in keeping the Steelers always relevant for so many years.A job well done.

  24. I hope the Steelers do the right thing and only consider lives that matter to replace him.

  25. Longtime Steeler faithful here. Drafting a high floor low ceiling QB in round 1 while ignoring desperate needs to patch holes in a porous defensive line that finished dead last against the run and in an offensive line which ranked 26th out of 32 teams is akin to putting lipstick on a pig. If I were the GM I would have targeted O-Line and D-Line muscle in rounds 1 and 2 (like the Ravens did) and focus on shiny bright objects in the mid to later rounds. Kenny “happy feet” Picket is not gonna fare well behind an O-Line of 5th 6th and 7th rounders attempting to block Cleveland Baltimore and Cincinnati defensive fronts consisting of mostly 1st and 2nd round talent.

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