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Former Steelers GM Reveals His Biggest Draft Regret

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert revealed that his biggest NFL Draft miss was not a surprising one — passing on Tom Brady.



Pittsburgh Steelers GM Kevin Colbert
Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert at the 2022 NFL Combine. -- Alan Saunders / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is now retired and has done some media rounds shedding light on his career as general manager. Colbert constructed two Super Bowl-winning teams over his 20-year career as general manager with the Steelers.

But there is one miss that will haunt him forever, and it is in his first NFL Draft. Colbert, who has taken a role at his high school alma mater, North Catholic, since his retirement from the Steelers in 2022, was interviewed by the NC Athletics Podcast this week, and he revealed that his biggest regret is what every general manager is thinking from the 2000 NFL Draft — passing on Tom Brady.

“I always go back to my first year as Steelers GM and Tom Brady was picked in the sixth round. We took Tee Martin in the fifth round. I always say Tee Martin was a great fifth-round pick. Tee Martin was a good backup NFL quarterback, obviously, Tom Brady was Tom Brady and at that point, nobody recognized that, including New England. New England includes themselves on that, because had they known they would have taken him with their first pick, which they didn’t have that year. They had a second-round pick and that was Adrian Klemm,” Colbert said. “So when you look back, obviously we chased Brady for however many years he was in New England. He was special and we and the rest of the NFL missed it. A lot of times people point out, ‘You took Tee Martin,’ and I say, ‘Yeah, we did,’ I love Tee. As a fifth-round pick, he was a really good fifth-round pick because he made our team and had a career and continues with the Baltimore Ravens as their quarterback coach. Happy for Tee, proud of Tee, but was Brady the better player? Obviously, history has proven that.”

Colbert came up with a scouting background, and the influence from his time in Detroit helped him build some incredible rosters. Having success in the draft is still mostly about evaluating people and their likelihood of transitioning success at the college level to the pros, but everyone missed on Brady. And as Colbert said, Martin did end up becoming a long-term backup, which is a successful fifth-round pick for a quarterback.

But the way Brady was wired made him different, and seven Super Bowls later, it’s not a surprise that anyone who was a general manager at the time would answer their biggest regret was passing on him.