LATROBE, Pa. – General Manager Kevin Colbert said today the fact he did not get his contract extended this summer along with Coach Mike Tomlin’s is a reflection of nothing more than a personal family decision.
“I’m under contract through May 2020,” said Colbert. “When I did my last extension, it was with the understanding that when we got to the end of that extension, if I was still employed, that most likely moving forward we would approach it year-to-year. That was a personal request on my part, and I’m very grateful Art (Rooney II) was accommodating to that because that’s just where my family and I are in our lives. We want to make those decisions on a year-to-year from this point forward.”
It had been the Steelers’ history of late to extend the contracts of both Tomlin and Colbert when they got within two years of the end of their current deals. Based on that timetable, both men were due to have their contracts extended, with NFL contracts for coaches running from season to season and contacts for general managers running from draft to draft.
And when that didn’t happen for Colbert in conjunction with Tomlin this summer, questions were asked.
“I’m appreciative that Art was accepting of (the request to go year-to-year), and it hasn’t changed anything we’re doing from a preparation standpoint,” said Colbert. “My schedule this year is as busy as it was in any previous year from the standpoint of college visits, college work, college studies, games – nothing has changed along those lines. When we’re in the meetings with the scouts, I’m talking about things we have to do differently next year in our meetings. So the mind-set is about 2019, but I’m not thinking about ‘this is my last year.’ What I am thinking about, and what we’ve talked about is that we’ll make that decision at some point when it’s agreeable. But right now we’re going to focus on 2019. There’s nothing more to it than that.”
While the absence of an extension for the general manager this summer brought attention to the issue, Colbert said, “This isn’t something that just came up last week. When I did the last extension it was done with the understanding that at the end of this one I’d like to do year-to-year. That’s just where we are in our lives. I’m 62. From a personal standpoint, that’s where myself, my wife, and my family are. And really, that’s all there is to it.
“I still love what I do, and as long as I still love what I do, I could see myself continuing to do it, but we just want to do that on a year-to-year (basis).”
Operating on a year-to-year basis can sound ominous when it pertains to an organization such as the Steelers that prides itself on stability, but Colbert said he’s operating on a business-as-usual basis.
“No, (there is no succession plan) because we haven’t thought about not being here, other than the fact we’d like to make the decision at the appropriate time,” said Colbert. “It’s not like any plans are in place. Nothing like that. Our meetings are exactly the same as they’ve always been. My scheduling is exactly as involved as it’s always been.
“And whatever happens, I would never leave the organization unprepared, is the best way to say it. We’re doing everything as if everything is going to continue.”
And Colbert made clear that he should be counted among those who are extremely pleased that Tomlin’s contract was extended just before the start of this training camp.
“Coach Tomlin is 125-66-1. He’s 1-1 in Super Bowls. He’s never had a losing season. Mike Tomlin is a great NFL coach, and anybody who argues that is not paying attention to the facts,” said Colbert. “The facts are there, and I’m very blessed to work with Coach Tomlin, the Rooneys, and having Mike a part of that going forward, to me, is a no-brainer.”
With matters of contracts settled, Colbert was asked about his goal for 2019.
“Win a Super Bowl.”