Kevin Colbert not treating 2019 like ‘this is my last year’ as Steelers GM
General manager Kevin Colbert is entering his 20th season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Could it be his last?
Colbert confirmed Saturday morning he will not seek an extension on his contract, which runs through May 2020, until after the conclusion of the 2019 season.
By design, that is a departure from previous years when Colbert, 62, was due a contract extension. Because of his age and close ties to his family — he and wife, Janis, have three children and four grandchildren — he wants to continue his association with the Steelers on a yearly basis.
Colbert made that decision in 2017 when he signed his current contract.
“It was with the understanding that when I got to the end of that extension, if I was still employed, that mostly likely moving forward I would approach it year to year,” Colbert said. “That was a personal request on my part.”
One team president Art Rooney II granted.
“I’m very grateful that Art is accomodating to that part,” Colbert said. “That is where myself and our family are in our lives.”
Colbert will oversee the 2020 NFL Draft, and Rooney II said “more than likely” his general manager’s future will be determined after the draft’s conclusion.
“We hope Kevin decides to stick around for many years to come, but he’s at the stage where he’s been at this for a while now,” Rooney II said. “Everybody has their own timetable.”
Colbert said his approach to building the Steelers will not change.
“I’m not thinking about this is my last year,” Colbert said. “What I am thinking and what we have talked about is we will make that decision at some point that is agreeable. Right now, we are going to focus on 2019. There is nothing more to it than that.”
Because he doesn’t have a firm date for retirement, Colbert said no succession plan will be put into place.
“It hasn’t changed anything that we are doing from a preparation standpoint,” he said. “My schedule is as busy as it was in any previous year.”
Colbert later added: “Whatever happens, I’ll never leave the organization unprepared.”
Colbert joined the Steelers as director of football operations in 2000. His title was changed to vice president and general manager in 2011, although his responsibilities have remained the same. As such, he is the longest tenured GM in the NFL.
The Steelers have appeared in three Super Bowls, winning twice, with just one losing season under Colbert’s watch. Their last appearance was after the 2010 season, when the Steelers lost to the Green Bay Packers.
“I’d like to win it for the guys who haven’t,” Colbert said.
If the Steelers were to rebound from a 9-6-1 season and win the Super Bowl this year, would it nudge Colbert toward retiring while the organization is on top?
“When you win, you want to win again,” Colbert said, “so I can’t answer that.”
Joe Rutter is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Joe by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .