The Pittsburgh Steelers will continue to search for new potential general manager candidates through the beginning of March, and are still not planning on making a hire until after the 2022 NFL Draft, outgoing GM Kevin Colbert said on Monday. That timeline echoed the one given by Steelers president Art Rooney II earlier this offseason.
Colbert and Rooney are conducting the interviews, which have so far included internal candidates Brandon Hunt and Omar Khan and a number of external candidates such as as Carolina Panthers executive Dan Morgan, ESPN analyst Louis Riddick, John Wojciechowski of the Green Bay Packers, Morocco Brown of the Indianapolis Colts, and John Spytek of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
Colbert explained that he’s helping to select candidates that he thinks Rooney would like, and then Rooney will make the ultimate decision on a new hire to replace Colbert, who will step down after the draft.
“Art hasn’t been through this process in 22 years, so really my role in this is to provide him with people we think are potential replacements,” Colbert said.
The team will continue initial interviews through early March and then will do a second round of interviews with final candidates after the draft. Head coach Mike Tomlin is also expected to be involved in those interviews.
Colbert said that no determination has been made regarding whether the team will hire an internal or external option for the position.
“There’s several guys that are outside our organization that are very qualified,” Colbert said. “I think as we go through this, we come out if understanding that there’s a lot of capable people. We’ll see where it goes.”
He also espoused the benefits of bringing in fresh ideas from outside the organization, given recent results. The Steelers haven’t won a postseason game since the 2016 season.
When we’re 9-7-1, we’re not good enough,” Colbert said. “When we’re not winning the Super Bowl, we’re not good enough. Is that stale? I don’t know if it’s stale, but I know it’s not good enough.”
The one thing that Colbert thinks Rooney is looking for? Experience as a talent evaluator, whether that has come as a scout, player personnel executive or assistant general manager. Nearly all of the Steelers’ early interviewees have a scouting background.
“It’s always been a football type of role, obviously, from an evaluation standpoint,” Colbert said. “I think that’s what he’s comfortable with and I know that’s what Coach Tomlin is comfortable with. So as we go through this, certain people may have more strengths in one area than another, but they have to be able to display that they can do and fit that football role that I think Art envisions.”
Speaking of Tomlin, Colbert said he didn’t expect the veteran coach’s role to change, despite a changing of the guard at the general manager position.
“I think [Tomlin and I] have grown to understand each other,” Colbert said. “He’s going to be here in that same role as head coach. So this person will have to be able to interact with Coach as well an appreciate what he can do. But Mike is also understanding that some people can bring some different ideas.”