The Pittsburgh Steelers have begun the second round of interviews to find Kevin Colbert's successor as general manager.
On Thursday, the team completed an interview with Brandon Hunt, the team's pro scouting coordinator. It was reported on Tuesday that Hunt interviewed with Buffalo to possibly fill the team's void at assistant GM. Hunt, who was a member of the Steelers' scouting department when Pittsburgh won the 2005 Super Bowl, returned to the team in 2009 after spending two seasons with the Texans.
The Steelers recently conducted their second interview with internal candidate Omar Khan, Pittsburgh's vice president of football and business administration. Khan interviewed on Tuesday with Steelers president Art Rooney II, coach Mike Tomlin and Colbert, who is stepping down after 22 years on the job. Khan, 44, has been with the Steeles since 2001.
The Steelers have interviewed several external candidates during their second round of interviews. Ryan Cowden, the Titans vice president of player personnel, recently went through his second interview with the Steelers. Pittsburgh also completed a second interview with Doug Whaley, who served as the Bills' assistant GM and director of player personnel from 2010-17, and John Spytek, the Buccaneers' vice president of player personnel.
Cowden has spent the past six years with the Titans, who last season clinched the AFC's No. 1 seed heading into the postseason. He spent the previous 16 years with the Panthers, who won two NFC titles during his time with the franchise. Prior to going to Buffalo, Whaley spent a decade with the Steelers as a pro personnel coordinator. Hall of Fame safety Troy Polamalu and former linebackers Lawrence Timmons and LaMarr Woodley were among the players Whaley helped scout during his time in Pittsburgh.
Spytek played an integral role in helping build the Buccaneers' roster that won the franchise's second Super Bowl at the end of the 2020 season. Spytek, who has spent the past six seasons in Tampa Bay, also won a Super Bowl as a member of the Broncos' staff in 2015. Spytek's NFL experience also includes time with the Browns, Eagles and Lions. He was Tom Brady's college teammate at the University of Michigan, where he played linebacker from 1999-02.
Whoever replaces Colbert will have big shoes to fill. Colbert, who arrived in Pittsburgh in 2000, helped build rosters that won two Super Bowls, three AFC championships, and 10 division titles. The Steelers made the playoffs 14 times in Colbert's 22 years in Pittsburgh. They had just one losing season, as Pittsburgh's streak of 18 consecutive non-losing seasons is the longest in the NFL.
Colbert's replacement will be tasked with several pressing personnel decisions that include possible contract extensions for receiver Diontae Johnson and free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. The Steelers are coming off a 2021 season that saw them make the playoffs after compiling a 9-7-1 regular season record. Pittsburgh's offseason has included the free agent signing of Mitchell Trubisky and the selection of former Pitt quarterback Kenny Pickett with the 20th overall pick. Both quarterbacks will compete with Mason Rudolph to be the team's Week 1 starter.