Steelers GM Kevin Colbert to Resign After 2022 NFL Draft, May Stay in Limited Role

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 28, 2022

Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert watches warm ups before an NFL football game against the Detroit Lions in Pittsburgh, Sunday, Nov. 14, 2021. (AP Photo/Don Wright)
AP Photo/Don Wright

Kevin Colbert's time in the Pittsburgh Steelers' front office is coming to an end.

Colbert will resign as Pittsburgh's general manager following the 2022 NFL draft, team owner Art Rooney II said Friday, per ESPN's Brooke Pryor. However, he could return to the team in a limited role.

Rooney said, per Pryor:

"We have left the door open, Kevin and I, to possibly have him fill an ongoing role after the draft. We will be conducting a search for a new GM starting immediately. Probably won't make a hire until after the draft. We will be interviewing people. We've already interviewed two of our in-house candidates: Omar Khan and Brandon Hunt."

Colbert had been with the Steelers since 2000 and was promoted from the director of football operations to general manager in 2010.

This doesn't come as much of a surprise considering Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero of NFL Network reported on Jan. 9 that Colbert was expected to retire and step away from his position following the 2022 NFL draft.

His contract ran through the draft, which concludes April 30, and Rapoport and Pelissero pointed to vice president of football and business administration Omar Khan and pro scouting coordinator Brandon Hunt as two potential replacements.

They also noted there was a chance Colbert could remain with the organization in something of an advisory role, much like Ozzie Newsome did with the Baltimore Ravens when he stepped down as the general manager in 2019.

Despite the report from Rapoport and Pelissero, Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported at the time it wasn't a sure thing Colbert would retire or resign and noted "it would be something of a surprise if he would direct the entire offseason operation—scouting and preparing for the NFL draft—then decide to leave before the start of the 2022 regular season."

Alas, he is ultimately resigning after leading one of the steadiest franchises in all of professional sports during his tenure.

Mike Tomlin has been the head coach since 2007, and Bill Cowher was in the position from 1992 through 2006 before him. What's more, Ben Roethlisberger has been the primary quarterback since 2004.

Numerous star players, such as Roethlisberger, Jerome Bettis, Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, T.J. Watt, Hines Ward and Le'Veon Bell, have been under the spotlight for the AFC North team as it remained playoff contenders on almost an annual basis.

In fact, the Steelers have been to the playoffs 14 times since 2000 and won two Super Bowls (2005 and '08) during that span. They also reached another Super Bowl after the 2010 season and three other AFC Championship Games, further underscoring their status as championship contenders so often with Colbert running the show.

Pittsburgh is among the strongest brands in the NFL and will surely continue in such a role, but one of the people largely responsible for that status will no longer be in the front office.