The Detroit Lions covet Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert for their GM vacancy, league sources said, but the odds of him leaving Pittsburgh are beyond slim. Colbert's deal is expiring, but an extension is a mere formality at this point.
Colbert was an executive with the Lions in 1990 before departing for what would become a Hall of Fame-worthy tenure with the Steelers. He is held in very high regard by the Ford family, as well as longtime Lions linebacker Chris Spielman, who was recently hired by the team in a front office role and to assist in this coaching search. Furthermore, a large and vocal contingent of the Lions alumni are proponents of Colbert's and believe he is uniquely positioned to get the long-suffering franchise back on track, but that effort will be in vain.
The initial wave of Lions GM interviews have focused on individuals with extensive NFL experience, and former Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff, who worked with Colbert in Detroit, is seen by many around the league as very well positioned for that spot as things stand. The Lions will begin interviewing non-GMs who are currently under NFL contract this week, a group that league sources said is likely to include Rams scouting director Brad Holmes and, Colts assistant GM Ed Dodds, and Vikings assistant general manager George Paton among others.
The Lions will also begin to focus more on their head coaching opening as well, with 49ers defensive coordinator Robert Saleh among the top names on their wish list.
Colbert has been operating on a series of one-year contracts with the Steelers by his own design and that will continue into 2021, sources said. While the Steelers face some critical questions about the future of Ben Roethlisberger, and their potential cap woes, and with Bud Dupree among their big free agents, it would be beyond shocking if Colbert even considered anything besides returning to Pittsburgh, where he and coach Mike Tomlin share a tremendous working relationship and with the Rooney family who want Colbert to oversee the roster as long as he wishes to.
Colbert has been upfront about his eventual retirement, which is a large part of why he goes year to year, but sources said he is not ready to walk away from the game yet as the Steelers have completed another AFC North title.