Steelers GM Defends Team Discipline

Kevin Colbert also says LeVeon Bell will play 100%

Jeff Hathhorn
July 27, 2018 - 2:14 pm
Steelers GM Kevin Colbert

93.7 the Fan

The head of the Steelers personnel department says he has absolutely no concern about the team attitude, discipline or any of those perceived issues.

“A lot of that stuff was made into stuff that wasn’t a concern,” said Steelers GM Kevin Colbert.  “I had no question about our mental preparation, our internal organization or how our team was run.”

“We always want to be better at what we do, on the field, off the field, team attitude.  The players have to take some of that on themselves.  We can draft them, Coach Tomlin can coach them, but when they are out there, it’s up to them.”

Colbert says they do look internally at what they do and that people outside of the organization don’t really understand what is going on at their facility.

“They don’t see the Coach Tomlin in a meeting room,” Colbert said.  “They don’t hear Coach Tomlin talk to his team and watch them pay attention.  They don’t see him in a one-on-one meeting with a player, good or bad.”

“We get into their personal lives a lot because he cares about them as people as much as he does as players.  I think that is every uncommon for his position.  He goes beyond the professional demands to make sure he’s doing the best for a player personally as well.”

Colbert doesn’t believe distractions led to the 45-42 playoff loss to Jacksonville, rather they were just outplayed by the Jaguars in all three phases.

“Did we get the right guys to win that playoff game, no.  Did we have the right game plan, no.  Did our players play good enough, no.  Give Jacksonville credit.  They played a great game and beat us.  End of story.”

Colbert says he doesn’t believe months of negotiation and eventually not getting a deal done will lead to hard feelings from LeVeon Bell.  Colbert says he expects Bell in top physical condition, but must work on his football condition.  The Steelers general manager also doesn’t buy that Bell will run out of bounds or be careful to save himself for when he becomes a free agent next year.

“I never worry about Bell’s competitiveness,” Colbert said.  “He wants to prove what he believes, that he’s the best.  So I don’t worry about that at all.  He is going to put team over individual goals.”

“To have everybody here is important, but he’s not here.  You can’t dwell on it, all you can do is just get better with what you got.  Whenever that changes, then we will deal with that.”

Colbert is not sure what is behind Bell on the depth chart, but knows they will have likely a month to separate themselves.

“When you get hurt in mini-camp like James did, again getting on that moving train, it’s hard to catch up,” Colbert said of second year running back James Conner.  “Once he got himself healthy and caught up physically, he did some good things.  Then he had the knee injury.  James has to prove that he can be available and productive for 16 games.”

“Jaylen Samuels (5th round pick) has to prove that he can be a NFL running back.  The other guys, Fitz and Stevan Ridley, we know what they’ve done and they need to prove they can continue to do it.  We will have a much better feel for that position after this preseason.”

Colbert picked more safeties, two, than any position in the draft and will rely on Tyler Matakevich and free agent Jon Bostic to battle for the other linebacker opening.  Colbert again defended their draft selections and said they do indeed take the best player available.

“We didn’t go into the draft saying we would draft another safety, we didn’t,” Colbert said.  “We went into the draft saying if safety is the best available player at our pick, sure we can add another guy.”

“When Marcus Allen was available in the fifth round, that goes back to Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown.  We drafted Emmanuel before Antonio because he was a senior and a little more predictable.  We had AB and him rated the same, once we got to the sixth round it was like ‘oh shoot, this guy is still available, we better not pass on him, even though we already took one’.  So we took another receiver, same with Marcus Allen.”

When asked about beating New England this year, Colbert likely understood the underlying meaning of the question, and got serious and said “no, we need to beat Cleveland.” 

It starts September 9.