Steelers GM Khan embracing expectations of new role

May 26, 2022, 8:55 PM | Updated: May 27, 2022, 8:58 am
Omar Khan, the new general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers, meets with reporters at the NFL foot...

Omar Khan, the new general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers, meets with reporters at the NFL football team's training facility in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

              Omar Khan, the new general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers, left, is introduced by Steelers owner Art Rooney II during an NFL football press conference at the team's training facility in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
              Omar Khan, the new general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers, meets with reporters at the NFL football team's training facility in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)
              Omar Khan, the new general manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers, meets with reporters at the NFL football team's training facility in Pittsburgh, Friday, May 27, 2022. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar)

PITTSBURGH (AP) — It did not take Omar Khan long to figure out he wanted to be around football. Growing up in New Orleans as an ardent Saints fan in the 1980s and 90s, he knew right away his life’s mission was to be involved in the NFL.

Even as he matured, even as he realized — like nearly every kid that dreams of playing on Sundays in the fall — that he probably didn’t have the talent to actually pull a helmet over his head and run out of the tunnel, the goal remained the same.

Over and over again, Khan would tell his father A.R. and his mother Carmen that he planned to be in the league. Somehow. Some way. He wasn’t going to be a doctor. Or a lawyer. Or a teacher. All noble professions to be sure. Just professions he knew weren’t for him.

“All I wanted to do was work in the NFL, become a general manager and win a bunch of Super Bowls,” Khan said.

Khan, 45, already has the Super Bowls checked off after helping the Pittsburgh Steelers win two after joining the franchise more than two decades ago.

Now he’ll get a chance to do it as the guy calling the shots after the Steelers promoted him to replace Kevin Colbert as general manager.

“I’m confident time will show this was the right decision for this franchise,” Khan said shortly after being formally introduced. “I don’t take anything for granted. I understand the expectations that come with this job.”

Expectations that have long been part of the franchise’s firmament, expectations that Khan has dealt with in some capacity for more than 20 years.

He initially joined the Steelers in 2000 as a football operations/coaching assistant, the first of what would be several positions he would hold while methodically working his way up the ladder, most recently building a reputation as a shrewd salary-cap guru while serving as the club’s vice president of football operations and business administration.

Khan expects to remain heavily involved in contract negotiations, noting “I’ll have my hands in a lot of things I’ve done before.”

While team president Art Rooney II stressed “we know Omar and Omar knows us,” Khan is assembling a staff that will include outside voices. Philadelphia Eagles vice president of player personnel Andy Weidl is returning to his hometown, and former Detroit Lions vice president and Washington Commanders scout Sheldon White is also entering the fold.

Khan declined to get into specifics on what Weidl and White’s respective titles will be. He called both of them “Steelers-type” people, pointing to their loyalty and ability to fit quickly into the team’s culture. Dan Colbert, Kevin Colbert’s son, also is being elevated for what Khan termed a “senior” position.

It’s unclear whether Brandon Hunt, Pittsburgh’s pro scouting coordinator, will remain with the club. Hunt is among more than a dozen candidates who interviewed for the chance to become Kevin Colbert’s successor. Hunt also has recently interviewed for vacant positions with other clubs, including Philadelphia.

Khan’s promotion and the new brain trust at the top of the team’s flow chart, coupled with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement and the offseason overhaul of the coaching staff that included longtime defensive coordinator Keith Butler’s departure, signals a significant amount of turnover for a place almost synonymous with stability.

Yes, the faces and titles may be evolving, but Khan insists the standard the Steelers hold themselves to is not.

“Look I can tell you from the first day I started here in Pittsburgh, it’s been all about football and building a championship roster here and that’s not going to change,” Khan said.

He inherits a roster that has established stars like reigning Defensive Player of the Year T.J. Watt and perennial Pro Bowl defensive lineman Cam Heyward as well as emerging players like running back Najee Harris.

Pittsburgh is coming off a 9-7-1 season that ended with a playoff loss in Kansas City. The Steelers haven’t won a postseason game in more than five years, the franchise’s longest drought between playoff victories since the birth of the “Super Steelers” dynasty in the early 1970s.

Still, Khan is excited about the team’s trajectory and eager to continue to work with coach Mike Tomlin, whose passion resonates throughout the building.

It’s a passion that Khan cultivated long ago, one that planted the seeds for what he is calling his “dream job.” Not bad for the son of immigrants from India and Honduras.

And yes, the significance of his hiring at a time when the NFL is grappling with better representation both on the sideline and in front offices is not lost on him. He’s also eager for the day when the ethnicity of who is getting what job is no longer newsworthy.

“I hope we get to the point where we need to have those conversations,” Khan said. “I’m excited about what the league is doing … I think it’s heading in the right direction.”


More AP NFL: and and

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Philadelphia 76ers guard Shake Milton (18) drives against New York Knicks guard Quentin Grimes (6) ...
Associated Press

Knicks rally from 21 points down, beat 76ers 108-97

NEW YORK (AP) — Julius Randle had 24 points, nine rebounds and seven assists, and Jalen Brunson scored 21 points and the New York Knicks overcame an early 21-point deficit to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 108-97 on Sunday night. Evan Fournier came off the bench to add 17 points for the Knicks, who were playing […]
19 hours ago
Toronto Raptors forward Pascal Siakam (43) drives against Memphis Grizzlies forward David Roddy (27...
Associated Press

Siakam, Raptors rally past Grizzlies 106-103 as Morant sits

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Pascal Siakam scored 19 points, including a pair of free throws with 9 seconds left, and the Toronto Raptors rallied from a 15-point deficit to beat the Memphis Grizzlies 106-103 on Sunday. Jaren Jackson Jr. missed a 3-pointer with 5.2 seconds left that would have tied the game for the Grizzlies, […]
19 hours ago
Cleveland Cavaliers forward Isaac Okoro (35) shoots over Indiana Pacers guard Buddy Hield (24) duri...
Associated Press

Garland leads hot-shooting Cavs to 122-103 win over Pacers

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Darius Garland scored 24 points, Isaac Okoro added 20 and the Cleveland Cavaliers made 15 3-pointers Sunday in a 122-103 rout of the Indiana Pacers. All five starters scored in double figures for the Cavaliers, who shot 52.3% percent from the field, including 15 of 37 (40.5%) from long range, to complement […]
19 hours ago
NASCAR Cup Series driver Kevin Harvick (4) speaks to reporters ahead of practice sessions before a ...
Associated Press

Kevin Harvick to join Fox both as NASCAR analyst in 2024

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kevin Harvick won’t spend a single day in retirement when his NASCAR driving days are over: Fox said Sunday it has hired Harvick for its broadcast booth next season. Harvick announced last month that he will retire from NASCAR competition at the end of the 2023 season. He will then transition […]
19 hours ago
AFC wide receiver Stefon Diggs of the Buffalo Bills makes a catch during the best catch football ev...
Associated Press

Kirk Cousins rallies NFC to 35-33 win over AFC in Pro Bowl

LAS VEGAS (AP) — For Kirk Cousins, it wasn’t quite the NFL-record 33-point comeback against the Indianapolis Colts to win the NFC North. However, Cousins was the quarterback for the third and final flag football game at the Pro Bowl on Sunday for a reason. NFC coach Eli Manning wanted Cousins in that spot to […]
19 hours ago
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes arrives ahead of Super Bowl 57, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023...
Associated Press

Chiefs, Eagles land in Phoenix, prepare for Super Bowl 57

PHOENIX (AP) — A few minutes after the Kansas City Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes landed in Phoenix, the pilot hung a “Chiefs Kingdom” flag out of the window as players, coaches and staff got off the plane and walked across the runway. About an hour later, it was the Philadelphia Eagles who arrived in […]
19 hours ago
Steelers GM Khan embracing expectations of new role