It was an emotional draft weekend for former Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert. The 65-year-old had overseen the last 12 NFL Drafts as the Steelers’ general manager, but it had been announced a while ago that he would be stepping away from the role. He has been with the organization for a total of 22 years and is expected to take up another position with the club.
“I don’t want to say better than,” Colbert told members of the media when asked how he felt he was leaving the Steelers, via NFL.com. “I’m proud to say we added to that [trophy] room. It was four trophies. There was four of them when we got here. And you knew the task. You think about DMR [late owner 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.”
During his time with the Steelers, he helped the organization win two Super Bowls and draft a plethora of Pro Bowlers. Since Colbert was named the team’s general manager, the Steelers are 111-64-2 during the regular season, with seven playoff appearances and four NFC North division titles.
“His contributions to this organization for 22-plus years have been exceptional and needs no endorsement from me,” Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin said at the NFL Draft on Saturday. “Quite frankly, it speaks for itself.”
Despite all his success as the Steelers’ general manager, the veteran knew it was time to allow someone else to take the reigns and help rebuild the team, with starting quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announcing his retirement following the conclusion of the 2021 NFL season.
“It’s like a game,” Colbert remarked. “When a game comes to an end, you appreciate it and you think about it, but you really will reflect on it when it’s quiet and you’re by yourself and it’s like, ‘Wait a minute, what do I go to do next?’ I don’t know.”
It remains to be seen who will take over for Colbert, but the former general manager did draft a quarterback in the 2022 NFL Draft in order to try and fill the massive hole left by Roethlisberger. The Steelers were the only team that opted to select a quarterback in the opening round of the draft when they chose Kevin Pickett with the 20th overall selection. While the organization still has Mitchell Trubisky as an option, Mike Tomlin isn’t ruling out that Pickett could be the team’s starter to open the 2022 season.
“He certainly has a chance (to be our Week 1 starter),” Tomlin said of Pickett on Saturday at the NFL Draft. “I agree with that sentiment of his readiness from a professional perspective.”
Steelers fans may be concerned about the future of the franchise without Roethlisberger on the field and Colbert helping to run the show, but the team still seems to be in good hands with Tomlin returning for his 16th season as head coach.