Khan: Being Steelers’ GM is’ a dream come true ‘

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PITTSBURGH – Omar Khan tried to keep the smile from overtaking his face when Art Rooney II told him the news.

But minutes after accepting the Pittsburgh Steelers’ general manager position, Khan could not control his emotions.

“When I was sitting with Art and he told me that and I was trying to control myself from smiling too much,” Khan said Friday. “I was very, very – I was thrilled. It was a dream come true. I actually gave him a hug on the way out. It’s amazing.”

Khan, 45, was announced as the next general manager earlier this week, followed by longtime GM Kevin Colbert, after Khan spent more than two decades with the organization, primarily in football and business administration roles.

“Obviously, we chose the guy we know very well,” Rooney said. “Excited that we know Omar, Omar knows us, and I think it’s going to be a pretty smooth transition.”

Although Khan is the Steelers’ first general manager without a background rooted in talent evaluation since the 1970s, he does not expect much change in the way he or the organization operates.

“I think it’s going to be an easy transition,” Khan said. “Coach T [Mike Tomlin] and I have had a good relationship for the last 16 years. We have entrusted each other many things. We have spent a lot of time together. It will be a smooth transition. “

By hiring Khan, the Steelers went both with a familiar face and a new approach, uniting the past with the future.

“I’m sure time will tell that this was the right decision for this franchise,” Khan said. “I’m excited. I can tell you I’m not taking anything for granted. I understand the expectations that come with this job. I can assure everyone that the expectations I set for myself are even greater.”

Khan, who was born in New Orleans, is the son of two immigrants. His mother was born in Honduras and his father is from India. After realizing he was not skilled enough to play football, he shifted gears and made working in the NFL his dream, modeling his work ethic according to his parents’.

“Today is as much for them as it is for me,” Khan said of his parents. “It was also them who had to listen to an 8-, 9-, 10-, 12-, 14-year-old boy tell them he did not want to be a lawyer, he did not want to be an engineer, he did not want to be a doctor, a teacher , policeman, firefighter; all he wanted was to work in the National Football League, become general manager and win a lot of Super Bowls. “

He got his start in the New Orleans Saints organization in player staff roles for four seasons before joining the Steelers.

As vice president of football and business administration, Khan has been the Steelers’ top dealer and pay-ceiling whiz. He will retain many of these responsibilities and he is also building a staff of front office members who have a strong scouting background.

Khan announced Friday that he is hiring former Philadelphia Eagles vice president Andy Weidl – a man in the Pittsburgh area – and former Detroit Lions vice president Sheldon White, elevating Dan Colbert, a former veteran college and pro scout, to a senior position . Weidl will serve as assistant general manager, White will be the team’s director of pro scouting and Colbert will take over as director of college scouting.

Khan said because the situation is fluid, he does not know if Kevin Colbert – who resigned as GM after the draft – will end up on his staff. Brandon Hunt is on his way to the Eagles to join their scout department, sources close to the situation told ESPN’s Kimberley A. Martin.

“I am sure to say that I have touched on all aspects of the football operations, of course some more than others,” Khan said. “But I think every good leader understands his strengths and his weaknesses, which I will not discuss here in public, but I think every good leader surrounds himself with wise people who will help him succeed. , and that’s my plan. “

Khan also said he will continue the long-standing policy of not negotiating contracts during the season, he said Friday, although he is open to adding a new set of ideas to the organization.

“Anything that can help us improve or win football matches, we will research and use,” Khan said. “I have some cool ideas that I think I want to implement.”

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