Kevin Colbert

KEVIN COLBERT

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Can you talk about your cap space?

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Obviously we did have the cap space available to do the types of things that we have done. We didn't have to make any roster moves to accommodate any of the moves that happened today.

 

How long can you keep the transition tag on Max Starks?

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The transition tag, as I have said, when you have that on there, you have to be prepared to be prepared to carry that in the event because it is the players option to accept that tag at any time. If he does then you need to be prepared to carry that on your cap, which we are. But our long-term goal and Max's long-term goal is to sign a long-term deal which we will continue to work on.

 

Are you happy with you unrestricted free agent class?

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You heard the coach, we are just starting. It is a good start really. We think back even to last summer when we were able to do Aaron Smith and Troy (Polamalu). Those guys would have been able to be unrestricted free agents this year so when we looked at it collectively, we kept some pretty significant players in-house.

 

Is that why you are close to the cap?

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Yeah. Our philosophy is always going to be to try to keep our own players. Again I will go back; Aaron, Troy, and now Ben, and add in Mewelde Moore and it's our group. We always know where the cap is and we are aware of what we can and can't do. We have to work within those restrictions but we are never going to shortchange them either.

 

Was the negotiation with Ben as easy as Mr. Rooney said it was?

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It was something that we really didn't start visiting until the end of the season was over. It really continued into the tail end of January into February. Omar (Khan) did a great job of laying out the ground work and finishing it off. We met a little bit at the combine to work through some different things. It was a really good process for both sides. Again, the player's focus was to be here for his career. That always makes it a lot easier.

 

What is your starting offensive line?

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You should have asked the coach that when he was here. Just take the guys that you have and however they shake out there. Obviously we think that Max is in those plans. Just take Max and add him to whoever is left. Mike (Tomlin) could have answered that from a "what if, when that happens." Obviously Alan (Faneca) has moved on. I don't know how it is going to shake out.

 

Is it easier for you to work now that Ben's deal is done?

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Really from a cap standpoint for this given season it doesn't change a lot. It changes it some, but not significantly. So that really doesn't affect this current cap season. As you move forward obviously it will have different ramifications. But for this current season it was some minor adjustments that were made but really it didn't affect too much for this year.

 

Were you worried about how high Ben's numbers might be?

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No, actually it didn't free up any room for us. It actually used up some of it. Really it would have been about the same if he hadn't signed an extension. We kind of understood that because this kid has done tremendous things. Quarterbacks get compensated a lot so you knew that going into the season that this was going to be the time that we were going to talk to him. Then he had a special season and he earned the big contract. The organization recognized that and was willing to compensate him for that. We always have to keep in mind the big picture, but a big part of that big picture is the quarterback. Fortunately, he is under contract for a number of years.

 

Do you look at the moves that other teams are making?

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We look at it as we are going to do what we do. We don't let anyone else's free agent signings or anyone else's draft influence what we are going to do. We are going to do what we feel is right. We have to continue to add players that we think are going to help us. We can't react to everybody signing this player or everybody drafting a player. We just have to do what we believe is right.

 

Do you have to restructure any deals?

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At this point we are ok. If we continue to move forward; if we sign more players, depending on the dollars, we might have to make some other adjustments. At this point we don't have to make any moves to accommodate what we did today.

 

Does that include signing Max Starks?

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Yeah. When you tender that player, that figure is on your cap. You have to have the room to do that.

 

What do you expect from Ben?

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The exciting thing about Ben is that there have only been 27 quarterbacks to win a Super Bowl and we have one of them. There have only been nine that have won two or more. Being that he is 26 years old, he can really do some special things in his career. He probably hasn't played his best football yet. Usually these guys don't peak at the age of 25 or 26. We really think that his better days are ahead of him. We will try to put the best team around him that will allow him to succeed.

 

Is there anything in his contract about riding motorcycles?

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I think he will take care of that.

 

Why hasn't Max Starks accepted his tender?

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In our talks with Max and his representatives prior to putting the tag on him, it was mutually agreed that we want to do this thing long-term. Sometimes you can't quickly get that done. He probably wants to test and see what else is out there for him, which is his right under the collective bargaining agreement. We are fine with that. Maybe you shop around, see what your value is, and then you get something that is more tempting that we are going to be able to do. I don't know. But he'll have that option and then we will have the option to match it, in addition to continue talking to him prior to that.

 

Will Ben's deal have to eventually be re-done?

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Eight years from now is a lifetime in this league. You do it and you try to project down that far. Who knows where we all will be in eight years; where this team will be. Hopefully it's a good enough team that we have to make some adjustments or we have to continue to have to make some additions. We never like to do anything on any deal that we realistically thing we can't live out. We do not like to do a phony type of deal with large back ends that are not going to be attainable. We like to be reasonable. When you talk eight years, that's a long time to project what your team is going to be like.

 

Evaluate the college running backs coming out and how that might have affected signing Mewelde?

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Actually the college running backs, it is an excellent group, it really is. When you can add a player now, it just enhances your ability to add players add another position. It doesn't take you out of the running back possibilities in the draft. It just gives us another option, another running back who happens to do kickoff and punt returns. If you can do something before the draft then great, but that is not going to stop you from adding to that position.

 

Any news on Dan Kreider?

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Danny is currently rehabbing. He is in and out of the building, rehabbing here. He is an unrestricted free agent and we have left open that door open as I am sure he is going to look around for other opportunities as well.

 

Do you expect any more free agent signings?

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Usually what we will do, when a guy shows up we don't like to announce who is coming. But when a guy does show up, when everybody shows up for their free lunch, we will announce something. 

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