While the Detroit Lions struck out when trying to make the bold move to steal Seahawks general manager John Schneider, it appears an equally bold move still has some life to it.
The Lions have been rumored to have interest in Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert from the beginning of the process, but those rumors were always presented with the caveat that it he was very unlikely to leave Pittsburgh, which just so happens to be his hometown. But on Wednesday morning, rumors have dramatically shifted to suggest he’s still in play for the job.
First, Dave Birkett put out this tweet, which is admittedly more based on his opinion than fact.
One more thing on the Lions' GM front: Just my opinion, but I would not rule out Kevin Colbert yet. If it's going to happen, it's going to happen soon or not at all.— Dave Birkett (@davebirkett) January 13, 2021
However, Michael Stone of 97.1 The Ticket’s “Stoney & Jansen with Heather” said on his show on Wednesday morning that things had fully progressed to an offer on the table, and an agreement could even be made soon.
“I just got off the phone with a trusted source who has told me that the Lions have made an offer to Kevin Colbert, and it’s pretty close to happening,” Stone said. “We’ll just go with that. I’m not going to say it’s done or anything like that. Someone I know pretty well, somewhat connected, said that they’ve offered the job to Kevin Colbert, and unless with the Rooneys come up with some kind of crazy counteroffer, he might be coming back.”
Stone is referring to Colbert’s 10-year span with the Lions as the team’s pro scouting director from 1990 to 1999.
Now, as always, it’s important to keep this rumors at an arm’s length. Things can change quickly, and it’s certainly possible that even if an offer is on the table, there is no guarantee it is accepted. Offers are just offers.
But landing Colbert would be a landmark move for the Lions franchise. The Steelers have been gold-standard of stability in the NFL, posting just a single losing season (2003) under Colbert’s 21-year reign over the franchise. They’ve won two Super Bowls, notched 10 division titles and posted a 217-117-2 record over that span with a 15-11 postseason record to boot.
We’re still a far ways away from confirming anything, but fingers crossed.
UPDATE: Gerry Dulac of the Steelers Radio Network is reporting that there has been no interview request between Colbert and the Lions:
Source: The Steelers have not received a request for permission from the Detroit Lions to speak to GM Kevin Colbert. They cannot talk to Colbert without the Steelers' consent.— Gerry Dulac (@gerrydulac) January 13, 2021
UPDATE 2: Stone addressed his report on Twitter after Dulac’s tweet:
Obviously my information has been debunked. This does not mean there isn’t or wasn’t back channel things going on. This is a reputable football person, not a limo driver,lawyer or chef. It appears he is wrong and that is on me.— michael stone (@stoney16) January 13, 2021