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End of an Era: Kevin Colbert ‘Proud’ of Tenure as Steelers GM

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Steelers Colbert Tomlin

PITTSBURGH — Saturday marked the end of an era, as Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert completed his 22nd and final NFL Draft with the team, marking the end of his tenure in the position.

Colbert is stepping down as general manager after the draft, but hopes to stay on with the team in an advisory capacity. President Art Rooney II is expected to decide on a replacement over the coming weeks and months before the 2022 season.

Head coach Mike Tomlin feted Colbert as the duo spoke with the media following the completion of a draft class for the final time.

“His contributions to this organization for 22-plus years has been exceptional and needs no endorsement from me. I think it quite simply, speaks for itself,” Tomlin said.  

“I have had an opportunity to come alongside this gentleman for 15 of those years and I just want to say it has been an absolute pleasure, not only in terms of results, but the process itself. It has been a pleasure to come alongside him and evaluate talent, make the critical decisions. There’s a lot of challenges in our business. The spirit in which you attack them is everything. It’s just been a pleasure to work with him.

“His mark and impact on us will continue to be felt and played out in the lives of the men that we selected here today. I just wanted to say that. Thank you for 15 quality years right here.”

Colbert said he does not know what will come next for him, and has tried to avoid looking back on his time with the team until his service is complete.

“You don’t think about these things until you get away from the task at hand,” he said. “There will be time to reflect on it. … I just can’t say how happy I’ve been to work beside Coach Tomlin for 15 of those 22 years and of course Coach Cowher for those first seven.”

Colbert did admit that the moment hit him as he submitted his final draft pick — quarterback Chris Oladokun in the seventh round — but that he would wait until some time had passed before truly reflecting.

“It will hit you a little bit later,” he said. “It’s like a game, when a game comes to an end, you think about it and appreciate it. But you really will reflect on it when it gets quiet and you’re by yourself, and it’s like, wait a minute, what do I have to do next? I don’t know. …

“Honestly, I don’t know, because for 38 years, we’ve been doing this. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. I don’t know what’s next.” 

Colbert got emotional when asked about how he feels he left the organization after 22 years.

“I’m proud that we’ve added to that room,” he said, referring to the wall of Lombardi Trophies that line the second-floor entrance of the Steelers’ headquarters. “There was four when we got there. And you knew the task. You think about DMR (Dan Rooney), being able to add to that room means a ton.”

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