Guest of the League
OLD LEAGUE DO NOT USE Est. 2018
One and Done - FFL: Week 3 | NFL: Championship

Longtime Steelers GM Kevin Colbert stepping down after draft

Fri Jan 28 2:48pm ET
By WILL GRAVES
AP Sports Writer

Related photo caption below

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is shown before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Monday, Nov. 8, 2021, in Pittsburgh. Colbert, who has spent more than two decades overseeing a roster that's made the Steelers perennial contenders, is stepping away after the NFL draft this spring. The 65-year-old Colbert has stuck to a one season at a time approach for a while. Team president Art Rooney II said Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, Colbert wants to move into a more advisory role. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)


PITTSBURGH (AP) Ben Roethlisberger isn't the only one with longtime ties to the Pittsburgh Steelers who is stepping away.

General manager Kevin Colbert, who has spent more than two decades overseeing a roster that's made the Steelers perennial contenders, is leaving after the NFL draft this spring.

The 65-year-old Colbert has stuck to a ''one season at a time approach'' for a while. Team president Art Rooney II said Friday that Colbert wants to move into a more advisory role. The team has already conducted interviews with internal candidates Omar Khan and Brandon Hunt and shortly will turn its eye to candidates outside the organization.

There is no rush to hire Colbert's replacement. Rooney said the hope is to have Colbert's successor in place after the draft. The next general manager will have a tall order in replicating Colbert's success. The Steelers won two Super Bowls and appeared in a third under his watch. They reached the playoffs 14 times since he was hired as director of football operations in 2000.

Colbert will be actively involved in one final draft as the Steelers look to replace Roethlisberger, who retired on Thursday after 18 seasons in Pittsburgh. Rooney declined to get into specifics about what Colbert's emeritus role will be, though he joked ''(Colbert) would probably rather describe it as something more than `hanging around.'''

The Steelers, as much as any team in the league, prefer to promote from within when major coaching positions are open. Khan has been with the organization since 2001 and currently serves as vice president of football and business administration. Hunt is the team's pro personnel director.

Asked specifically about Hunt, Rooney called him a ''good candidate.''

''He has taken on additional responsibilities and handled them well,'' Rooney said. ''So I think Brandon is somebody that has the kind of experience we'll be looking for.''

The team is also actively searching for a defensive coordinator after Keith Butler retired over the weekend. Senior defensive assistant Teryl Austin figures to be the favorite but Rooney said the team is not averse to looking elsewhere to help a defense that sank from third overall in 2020 to 24th this season.

''We're certainly not afraid to bring somebody in from the outside if need be,'' he said. ''And as you know, when we hired coach Tomlin, we had some good internal candidates in that round and wound up hiring somebody from the outside. So we just don't try to get too narrow and too much of a narrow focus, and really try to get the best person for the job wherever they're coming from.''

There are no plans to move on from offensive coordinator Matt Canada, whose unit struggled in his first season calling plays. The offense's issues were many, from sluggish play by an almost completely retooled offensive line to Roethlisberger's nonexistent mobility to a wide receiver group that took a step backward.

Finding a replacement for Roethlisberger is the team's top priority this spring. Backups Mason Rudolph and Dwayne Haskins will be in the mix, though the Steelers also have the 20th overall pick in the draft and more than $40 million available in salary cap space, That number is expected to climb if high-priced veterans such as inside linebacker Joe Schobert are cut after an underwhelming season.

Rooney expects the team to be more active in free agency than in the past because of its cap flexibility. He didn't commit to splurging on bringing in an experienced veteran to compete with Rudolph and Haskins.

''You don't always have the luxury of saying, `I want A, B and C' and, you know, go to the grocery store and order a quarterback,'' he said.

It doesn't help that Pittsburgh's needs extend far beyond who will take the snaps. The Steelers want to upgrade both the offensive and defensive fronts after they had issues running the ball and stopping the run consistently. Rooney indicated the team is uncertain about veteran defensive end Stephon Tuitt's future. Tuitt missed all of 2021 after undergoing knee surgery and grieving the death of his younger brother in a hit-and-run accident last spring.

While Pittsburgh reached the postseason for the second straight year, the Steelers haven't won a playoff game since 2016, the longest active streak in the AFC North.

''We certainly have work to do,'' Rooney said. ''You know, with the opening at our quarterback position, you could say it's a new chapter.''

In more ways than one for an organization built on continuity.

Top Headlines
The Paur Report

Scout Championship Overview

Player Notes
Doug Middleton Jan 28 12:33am ET
Doug Middleton

San Francisco 49ers S Doug Middleton was released from the practice squad on Thursday, Jan. 27. In a related move, the team re-signed free agent S Jarrod Wilson.

From TheHuddle

Dalton Schultz Jan 27 11:23pm ET
Dalton Schultz

Dallas Cowboys impending free-agent TE Dalton Schultz ranks fourth among tight ends in receptions over the past two seasons.

Fantasy Spin: Schultz is coming off a career year, and despite a loaded receiving corps in Dallas, he has proven himself to be one of Dak Prescott's favorite targets. If he remains a Cowboy, he should be a dependable TE1 next season.

From TheHuddle

Davante Adams Jan 27 10:53pm ET
Davante Adams

Green Bay Packers impending free-agent WR Davante Adams leads the NFL in both receptions (238) and touchdown catches (29) over the past two seasons and ranks second with 2,927 receiving yards in that span.

Fantasy Spin: Adams has proven to be one of the steadiest, high-end fantasy options at any positions the last few seasons, but some of his value is tied to his relationship with Aaron Rodgers. Adams would likely warrant WR1 consideration in any situation, but a continued relationship with Rodgers would be the ideal scenario.

From TheHuddle

Allen Robinson Jan 27 10:53pm ET
Allen Robinson

Chicago Bears impending free-agent WR Allen Robinson led the NFL with 71 contested catches in his four seasons with the Bears, and he ranked 19th in the NFL with 293 receptions while working with quarterbacks who combined for the sixth-worst Total QBR.

Fantasy Spin: Robinson has done a lot of the heavy lifting in his time in Chicago and has produced decent numbers despite a lackluster supporting cast. A move to a better offense could instantly vault Robinson back into WR2 territory.

From TheHuddle

Haason Reddick Jan 27 10:53pm ET
Haason Reddick

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent LB Haason Reddick's 23.5 sacks over the past two seasons rank fifth in the NFL, and his 728 pass-rushing snaps in that span are fewer than any player ahead of him in sacks in that stretch.

From TheHuddle

Van Jefferson Jan 27 8:40pm ET
Van Jefferson

Los Angeles Rams wide receiver Van Jefferson (knee) was able to suit up for practice on Thursday. He was limited during this session, but is on track to play against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday. Last week, Jefferson had two receptions for 29 yards during the Divisional Round victory. It sounds like Jefferson is on track to play this weekend, but isn't exactly the best DFS option. He'll be the third receiving option behind Odell Beckham Jr. and Cooper Kupp.

From RotoBaller

Jeff Wilson Jan 27 8:40pm ET
Jeff Wilson

San Francisco 49ers running back Jeff Wilson Jr. (ankle) was able to get in a limited practice on Thursday. He is recovering from an ankle injury he suffered during last week's Divisional Round. The 49ers are hopeful he can play this weekend versus the Los Angeles Rams. However, Wilson doesn't offer much fantasy value with Elijah Mitchell getting a majority of the carries. There's a small chance that Wilson makes a significant impact, assuming he's healthy enough to play on Sunday.

From RotoBaller

Elijah Mitchell Jan 27 8:40pm ET
Elijah Mitchell

San Francisco 49ers running back Elijah Mitchell (knee) was able to get in a limited session during Thursday's practice. Fantasy managers shouldn't be alarmed as the team is likely just managing his reps. He doesn't appear to be in any danger of missing the NFC Championship game against the Los Angeles Rams this weekend. Mitchell should be the workhorse back once again on Sunday. He has seen 20 or more touches in seven straight games. He'll be tough to ignore in DFS contests for this weekend.

From RotoBaller

Taven Bryan Jan 27 6:53pm ET
Taven Bryan

Jacksonville Jaguars impending free-agent DT Taven Bryan is not expected to re-sign with the Jaguars this offseason.

From TheHuddle

Tyrann Mathieu Jan 27 6:53pm ET
Tyrann Mathieu

Kansas City Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) is on track to play in the AFC Championship game.

From TheHuddle

Isaac Yiadom Jan 27 5:13pm ET
Isaac Yiadom

Free-agent CB Isaac Yiadom (Packers) recently worked out for the Indianapolis Colts.

From TheHuddle

Tyreek Hill Jan 27 4:33pm ET
Tyreek Hill

Kansas City Chiefs RB Darrel Williams (toe) was limited during practice Thursday, Jan. 27. S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion), RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire (shoulder), CB Rashad Fenton (back), WR Mecole Hardman (hip), WR Tyreek Hill (heel), LB Anthony Hitchens (back), DT Chris D. Jones (groin), CB L'Jarius Sneed (knee), CB Charvarius Ward (neck) and OG Andrew Wylie (elbow) fully participated in practice.

From TheHuddle

John Simon Jan 27 3:53pm ET
John Simon

Free-agent LB John Simon signed a Reserve/Future contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers Thursday, Jan. 27. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

From TheHuddle

Ryan Tannehill Jan 27 2:43pm ET
Ryan Tannehill

Tennessee Titans QB Ryan Tannehill is not expected to be released or traded this offseason, according to Joel Corry of CBS Sports. The Titans would likely incur a dead cap charge of at least $57 million by releasing Tannehill, which would result in an $18.8 million loss in cap space. Trading Tannehill before June 1 would result in a dead cap hit of $28.4 million and give Tennessee $10.2 million in cap savings but leave his next team on the hook for his $29 million base salary for next season.

From TheHuddle

Vincent Taylor Jan 27 2:13pm ET
Vincent Taylor

Houston Texans DT Vincent Taylor (Achilles) went on the Reserve/Injured list after tearing his Achilles in Week 1 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was initially believed Taylor suffered an ankle injury in the opener that was going to sideline him six to eight weeks.

From TheHuddle

Tyrann Mathieu Jan 27 2:03pm ET
Tyrann Mathieu

Kansas City Chiefs S Tyrann Mathieu (concussion) returned to practice Thursday, Jan. 27.

From TheHuddle

Justin Fields Jan 27 11:40am ET
Justin Fields

On Thursday, the Chicago Bears hired former Colts Defensive Coordinator Matt Eberflus to be their head coach. Eberflus took a Colts defense that was ranked 26th and 27th in total defense before he arrived and made them a top-10 unit. The Colts never featured tremendous pass rush rates and blitzed at one of the lowest rates in the league, but the Bears defensive scheme only blitzed 2.4% more and both teams ran a variation of a 4-3 base defense, so it's possible there won't be much change in philosophy. However, the biggest question will be who Eberflus hires as offensive coordinator and what that means for Justin Fields. Since Eberflus spent four years coaching under former NFL quarterback Frank Reich, it wouldn't be a stretch to assume that he soaked up some knowledge in that relationship and will use it to make a hire that's in the best interest of his quarterback's development.

From RotoBaller

Trevor Lawrence Jan 27 11:30am ET
Trevor Lawrence

After earlier reports that Byron Leftwich was set to be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars, reports surfaced early on Wednesday that the negotiations were held up because Leftwich wanted Jacksonville to get rid of General Manager Trent Baalke to hire Adrian Wilson, who is Vice President of Pro Scouting for the Arizona Cardinals. Not long after that, Adam Schefter reported that the Jaguars interviewed former Denver Broncos head coach Vic Fangio for their head coaching position. While we don't know where this will end up, Fangio has been a far more run-heavy coach in his career than we'd expect Leftwich to be since Leftwich has learned under Bruce Arians. It's possible that if Fangio were to be hired in Jacksonville, we could see a running back committee of Travis Etienne and James Robinson in the same way Denver deployed Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon this year. It would also potentially sap the upside of Trevor Lawrence, Laviska Shenault Jr., and D.J. Chark, so let's hope Jacksonville does the right thing here.

From RotoBaller