The NFL Owners Meetings are in full swing in Boca Raton, Florida, and Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert weighed in on a variety of topics during it.
- Chopping it: The NFL Competition Committee has a proposal on the table to eliminate the chop block, something Colbert reiterated that the Steelers are in favor of doing. Steelers President Art Rooney II said that the Steelers would support making all chop blocks illegal, a rule that has evolved over the years.
“We’ve been advocating that for over 10 years,” said Colbert. “I think finally enough people realize it shouldn’t be part of football. We’ve always argued that a defender can’t protect himself. I think hopefully enough teams recognize that now and we can get that changed.”
Character counts: The Steelers have made it a practice to focus on character as well as athletic ability via the NFL Draft and free agency, something Colbert said he embraces but the wheels were in motion before he ever arrived in Pittsburgh.
“The organization is built on character, and I think they look for that in all their people who work for them,” said Colbert. “Leadership, it’s a very valuable quality. Think back to Joe Greene in the ‘70s, he was the ultimate leader. I think when you see guys like that, you know Ramon (Foster), having the same types of intangible qualities, there’s value in that because it’s a team game. What they can do off the field, from a football-character standpoint, it’s huge. Like I said, we probably value it more than other teams with our players because we know them. Other teams don’t know them. Now, all they do is watch film and watch them play like we do with other team’s players. If we don’t know them, we can’t talk about another team’s player’s intangibles, because we haven’t seen it or witnessed it. In Ramon’s case, we have.”
- By a nose: Colbert also talked about free agency, including changes to the Steelers’ roster. Once such change was the loss of nose tackle Steve McLendon, an unrestricted free agent who signed with the New York Jets. Colbert said the team likes what Dan McCullers has shown, but will also still be looking along the line.
“Dan has shown when he has played, he’s really been productive,” said Colbert. “On production per snap, the basics, his production is pretty good. So, can he continue to develop and help us, we think so. Will there be depth on the defensive line in this draft, absolutely. Again, it’s a very deep draft on defense, particularly on the defensive line. Could we still add a guy from free agency, yes, if it makes sense, as the market continues to evolve? So really all of those things come into play.”
More: Colbert on free agency