These are times of change in Pittsburgh, from the huddle all the way up to the front office.
A day after Steelers veteran quarterback Ben Roethlisberger made his retirement official, team owner Art Rooney II announced vice president and general manager Kevin Colbert will be stepping down, as well. Colbert will remain in his current role through this year's NFL draft, a plan that was first reported by NFL Network's Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero earlier this month. There is interest on the part of both Rooney and Colbert for him to stay with the organization in a reduced role, Rooney added.
"We will be conducting a search for a new GM starting immediately (and) probably won't make a hire until after the draft," Rooney said, per team reporter Bob Labriola. "(We) interviewed (two) in-house candidates. (We're) certainly not afraid to bring in someone from the outside."
Rooney said the two candidates who already have interviewed are Brandon Hunt and Omar Khan, per Pryor.
The Steelers reached three Super Bowls in Colbert's tenure, winning two of them -- Super Bowls XL and XLIII -- and compiled an impressive overall record of 225-124-3. He became the Steelers' director of football operations in 2000, and their general manager in 2010, after previous scouting stints with the Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions.
Colbert had Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh's first-round draft pick in 2004, directing the Steelers' offense for most of his years with the club. Roethlisberger went on to six Pro Bowls and helped ensure a consistent winner in Pittsburgh, along with coach Mike Tomlin, who came on in 2007. Some of Colbert's most notable draft picks since becoming general manager in 2010 include Maurkice Pouncey (2010, first round), Antonio Brown (2010, sixth round), Cam Heyward (2011, first round), David DeCastro (2012, first round), Le'Veon Bell (2013, second round), T.J. Watt (2017, first round), JuJu Smith-Schuster (2017, second round), and promising 2021 rookies Najee Harris and Pat Freiermuth. It's been an impressive run of draft evaluations, to be sure, and leaves no wonder why ownership will keep Colbert in charge of one more draft before his exit.
Identifying and drafting a franchise quarterback who can capably replace Roethlisberger would be a fitting way for Colbert to wave goodbye.