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Getting to know the 6 Steelers GM candidates who received second interviews

Rather than having to compile the information yourself, here is a brief NFL bio for the candidates who received second interviews for the Steelers general manager position.

NFL: DEC 26 Steelers at Chiefs Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Over the last two weeks, the Pittsburgh Steelers have conducted second interviews with six candidates for their general manager position. While nothing has been stated officially by the Steelers that this list is complete, it is assumed that this round of interviews has come to an end. With articles spread out over days about each of these candidates, compiling all the information previously reported into one place for your convenience seemed beneficial.

With that in mind, here is a brief description about each of the six candidates in the order in which their second interview occurred with the Pittsburgh Steelers for their general manager position:

Ryan Cowden

Ryan Cowden spent 16 years in the scouting department of the Carolina Panthers before joining the Tennessee Titans in 2016. Cowden currently is the Vice President of Player Personnel for the Titans. Cowden got his start in the NFL with the Panthers in 2000 as a scouting assistant and was an area scout for seven seasons. He then became a national scout prior to moving up to assistant director of college scouting before moving on to Tennessee.

Doug Whaley

A former defensive back at the University of Pittsburgh, Whaley was the Steelers pro personnel coordinator for 10 years and worked directly under Kevin Colbert. Hired as the assistant general manager and director of pro personnel by the Buffalo Bills during the 2010 offseason, Whaley moved into the general manager position in 2013, a position he held through the 2016 NFL season.

After a season as a recruiter for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl, Whaley was hired as the senior vice president of football operations for the XFL in November 2018. When the league folded in April 2020, Whaley was laid off but was later re-hired as the vice president of player personnel in November 2021 as the XFL moves forward in continuing their league in the spring of 2023.

Since his interview, Whaley has caused some waves in Steelers’ Nation by making a comment that Hall of Fame linebacker Jack Ham would be a backup in today’s NFL.

John Spytek

John Spytek got his start in an NFL front office as an intern with the Detroit Lions in 2004. Moving to be an intern with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2005, Spytek became a college scouting assistant in 2006 before being a full college scout from 2007 to 2009. In 2010, Spytek became the Director of college scouting for the Cleveland Browns. After three years in Cleveland, Spytek was the southwest area scout in 2013 for the Denver Broncos before being elevated to a national scout for two years in 2014 and 2015. Spytek then transitioned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as the Director of player personnel in 2016.

Omar Khan

Khan began his NFL front office career in 1997 with the New Orleans Saints in their football operations department after previously serving as a scouting intern. Hired by the Steelers in 2001 as their football administration coordinator, Khan was promoted to Director of Football Administration in 2011. In 2016, Khan was promoted to his current title with the Steelers of vice president of football and business administration.

While Khan has an impressive title with the Steelers, what most fans know him as the person in the front office who “works the magic” with the NFL salary cap.

Andy Weidl

A Pittsburgh native, Weidl began his journey in NFL offices with the Steelers in 1998 as a player personnel assistant. After two years with the Steelers, Weidl became a national combine scout for the New Orleans Saints from 2000 to 2002. Promoted to the northeast area scout with New Orleans for two years, Weidl joined the Baltimore Ravens scouting department in 2005. After four seasons has the west area scout, Weidl spent four more seasons as the northeast scout followed by four years as the east regional scout.

Hired by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2016 as the assistant director of player personnel, Weidl became the director of player personnel two years later in 2018. After one season, Weidl saw a promotion to vice president of player personnel which is his current position with the team.

Brandon Hunt

Hunt is the Steelers’ pro scouting director, and is in his second stint with the team. Growing up in Pittsburgh, Hunt began interning for the team in 2005 before spending two seasons as a scout for the Houston Texans. Hunt returned to the Steelers in 2010 as the pro scouting coordinator, a job vacated by Doug Whaley when he left to be the assistant general manager in Buffalo.

Earlier this offseason Hunt met with the Raiders about their GM vacancy, also met with the Philadelphia Eagles recently in what would be viewed as a lateral move and interviewed with the Buffalo Bills for their Assistant GM opening.