The Pittsburgh Steelers welcomed their newest General Manager (GM) into the fold Friday when Omar Khan met with the media at the team’s UPMC Rooney Sports Complex. Throughout Khan’s press conference, he was asked about a number of topics, but how he plans on changing what has become commonplace in the Kevin Colbert era was certainly at the forefront.
Colbert has worked with Khan for over 20 years, and Khan knows he is only a phone call away with advice or a helping hand. However, Khan said he learned two things from Colbert which he’ll never forget.
“A couple things...1. When Joe Greene speaks, you listen. 2. We’re always going to build this through the draft. I can’t ever forget that, and I won’t. He was always big on that, and this goes back to Art and Mr. Rooney, and that will continue.”
So, for fans who were thinking Khan might be a GM who likes to wheel and deal draft picks away, you might want to pull back on those expectations. When Khan was specifically asked about what he’d like to change about the Steelers’ operations, he said it should be a pretty seamless transition. But don’t take that as Khan not wanting to put his stamp on the job, and the organization.
“There’s not going to be a lot of change here.” Khan said. “There are some ideas I want to implement and put in place, but I don’t foresee a lot of change.”
A talking point among fans throughout this entire process of naming the new GM has been how the new hire would handle contracts. Well, Khan knows all about contracts, but will he keep certain policies in place? When asked if he would continue with the principle of not negotiating new contracts during the season, he said he would.
“Those principles will stay in place.” Khan responded.
As for Khan taking over for Colbert, who was hired in 2000, it begins a new era of Steelers football. But this transition isn’t just about the front office, the team itself is also undergoing a myriad of changes, none larger than replacing Ben Roethlisberger at quarterback. Khan isn’t intimidated by the challenge.
“It’s exciting.” Khan said about starting this new era of Steelers football. “We assembled a great coaching staff, I mentioned the players and people we have in here and who I’m bringing in. I think the future is bright.”
With Colbert and Roethlisberger now gone from their posts, Mike Tomlin remains the longest tenured facet of the organization not with the last name Rooney. Khan was asked about his relationship with Tomlin, and if it will be a tough transition as his title changes.
“I think it’s going to be an easy transition.” Khan said. “Coach T and I have had a great relationship over the past 16 years. We’ve confided in each other on a lot of things, we’ve spent a lot of time together. It’s going to be a smooth transition.”
The Pittsburgh Steelers are a team which utilizes analytics, but not nearly as much as some other NFL franchises do/have. Khan was asked about his view on analytics, and whether or not he’ll embrace, or reject, such philosophies?
“Anything that can help us improve or win football games we’re going to look into utilize. I have some cool ideas I am going to implement. I’m not going to share those publicly, I don’t want anyone else knowing those, but we’re going to use every tool and/or opportunity to get better.”
To sum this up, Khan is certainly going to stay true to the Steelers general thoughts and philosophies on how the organization works, but don’t mistake that as him not wanting to do things his way. Putting his own unique spin on the GM position.
Things might look different, but different isn’t always a negative. In the meantime, fans can do nothing but sit back and watch. Khan will have the 2022 season to get his feet wet, but he’ll have ample time to prove himself as a GM in the coming offseasons.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the rest of Organized Team Activities (OTAs) and mandatory minicamp.
For a complete rundown of Khan’s press conference, check out BTSC’s Press Conference Recap podcast in the player below: