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Omar Khan talks building through the draft, and what he’ll change as Steelers GM

The new Pittsburgh Steelers GM understands what to keep sacred, and what to change with his new role.

Cincinnati Bengals v Pittsburgh Steelers

The Pittsburgh Steelers have long been built around consistency. And this consistency has been at every level of the organization.

  • Ownership
  • Coaching
  • Front Office

At every level of the Steelers organization they have prided themselves on consistency and continuity. However, change is inevitable in this business. It was inevitable when Dan Rooney left the team to be the ambassador to Ireland. It was inevitable when both Chuck Noll and Bill Cowher retired. Entering 2022 it is inevitable again with Kevin Colbert stepping down as the team’s General Manager (GM).

The Steelers did what they do best, and they promoted from within by hiring Omar Khan to be the team’s next GM. With this new power, fans are wondering what Khan will keep consistent with previous regimens, and what he might do different? After all, no one would blame Khan for wanting to make adjustments which he thinks can help the Steelers get over that proverbial hump and back to the promised land.

After Khan was named the Steelers new GM, Khan spent some time talking with Albert Breer of the Monday Morning Quarterback, a part of Sports Illustrated, and he spoke about his relationship with Kevin Colbert.

“Kevin’s been a great leader for a long time, and he and I have worked so well together for so long. I mean, honestly, I find it hard to believe there’s two other people in the league that have worked as well together as Kevin and I have. I’ll always appreciate how he included me in all different parts of the football department.” Khan said.

Many fans might be surprised to read how Khan isn’t just a numbers guy, but has been working with Colbert on the personnel side for years. In fact, Khan got his start as a scout with the New Orleans Saints prior to joining the Steelers.

With that said, Khan also said one aspect of the Steelers which has been true well before Colbert took over in 2000, and that is how you build a team.

“But more importantly, the number one thing, he’s always preached the importance of building this through the draft, and that’s not gonna change.” Khan said of things which won’t change after Colbert retired.

If you are like me, you are wondering what might be different with Khan at the helm, compared to the previous administration.

“Obviously, I get to be more involved in different areas of the football department, and take more of a leadership role.” said Khan. “But fortunately I’ve surrounded myself with some good people and I think I’m giving us an opportunity to be successful.”

Those “people” would be Andy Weidl, Sheldon White, Dan Colbert and reportedly Mark Sadowski. But focusing solely on Weidl, who carries the title of Assistant GM, Breer talked about what the Steelers are getting with the former Baltimore Ravens and Philadelphia Eagles personnel leader.

Pittsburgh wound up poaching Philly’s VP of player personnel, Andy Weidl, to be their new assistant GM. And after interviewing Weidl for the job that Khan wound up landing, the Steelers, to be sure, feel pretty fortunate to lock down two guys from their candidate pool. That Weidl has worked with Khan before (they were together in New Orleans in 2000), is from Pittsburgh and started his career with the Steelers, is a pretty nice bonus, too.

Khan spoke about how happy he was the team was able to coax Weidl away from Philadelphia and get him into the Steelers’ front office.

“We had the opportunity—I wasn’t necessarily sure we’d be able to work things out with Philly, but we did—and he’s very talented, he’s loyal, he knows what it means to be a Steeler,” Khan said. “He’s a great evaluator; he was a good fit for me and the organization.”

More from Breer:

Weidl’s exit from Philly signals a significant shift in the personnel department, with the once-Ravens-centric personnel department GM Howie Roseman built in 2016 now having almost completely turned over.

The Steelers new-look front office will be judged soon enough, but the majority of criticism is a ways off. When next offseason rolls around and the team approaches free agency and the 2022 NFL Draft is when Khan, Weidl and company will be judged harshest. In the meantime the team now has to try and evaluate what to do with the retirement of Stephon Tuitt.

Will this be the first sign the Khan tenure will be different, or just more of the same? We’ll find out soon enough.

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the start of mandatory minicamp next week.