Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert is on an important quest as the 2013 NFL Combines begin. In light of recent reports attributed to an anonymous source and questions about levels of discord within the Steelers locker room and organization, Colbert is not only a busy man, but a pressured one. In a press conference given at the Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Colbert addressed recent media reports and the state of the Steelers.
Although composed and well-tempered with the media, Colbert was quick to address the distractions of reactions to negative news about the Steelers. His news conference began smoothly and then Colbert got down to business about sources that won't reveal themselves. Granted, the off-season is often a waiting game for media, but Colbert and the Steelers organization have little time to deal with rumors and speculation.
When Colbert was asked about the recent anonymous source revelations, he said,
"I was bothered by the fact it was an anonymous comment...LaMarr Woodley has been a significant player on some very successful teams, and we're happy that he's part of our team. If you talk to LaMarr he'd be the first to tell you that he was disappointed in his performance."
"Am I disappointed by the comment?" Colbert continued. "Only in the sense it was anonymous, and I don't give any credence to any comment that isn't attributed. That's a bigger disappointment to me than anything LaMarr Woodley did or didn't do for us last year."
Colbert made it clear that the organization knows about frustrations individuals have about a disappointing 2012 season and that they are all engaged. He told the press, "I'm not concerned about our locker room. Coach Tomlin and I have had the opportunity to speak to our players, sometimes more than once, since the season ended." Colbert insisted that he and Tomlin have a "very good finger on the pulse" of the heart that is the Pittsburgh Steelers. Colbert also explained that disappointment arises in every locker room, but admitted that a tough 8-8 result in 2012 has been difficult to accept for many.
Though some have predicted dark days in Pittsburgh, Colbert was more hopeful. "I don't know what the roster is going to be on March 13 or on April 20...we have some old players and they're significant players because they wouldn't be with us at their age if they weren't. But we have a lot of young guys I think who are ready to take the next step when it's their turn."
While the Steelers will be watching for results in potential players at the NFL Combine, they won't have to make hard decisions about their veterans on the roster. However, the Steelers will have more difficulty during the five-week free agency period to re-sign or restructure contracts with their own free agents. So far, the Steelers have remained fairly quiet about the changes, especially when it has historically been the organization's method to get their own free agents into contracts before they shop around.
As Bob Labriola reported, Colbert admitted that no players have been eliminated from the organization's potential list of roster possibilities for 2013. He pointed out that until players begin receiving calls from other teams, the player won't know his own market value. And until March 12, the Steelers will not know what the market for shopping their own players or retrieving new faces will be either.
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