Reporting Grant Paulsen
INDIANAPOLIS – Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert addressed the media on day one of the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium on Thursday, and the veteran executive spoke about why Pittsburgh wanted to hire Danny Smith as its new special teams coach.
“Coach Tomlin identified Danny through his own process,” Colbert said. “He’s known Danny and worked against him in certain situations.”
Colbert, a 13th-year general manager, has a history with Smith of his own.
“I had the honor of working with Danny for two seasons in Detroit when he was our tight ends coach and I was with the Lions. I knew Danny. He’s a Pittsburgh guy,” Colbert said.
Smith went to Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh. He joins a staff comprised of several home-grown minds including Colbert — a product of North Catholic High School — and offensive coordinator Todd Haley.
“There’s a lot of value in having Pittsburgh people join the organization,” Colbert said about luring Smith away from the Redskins. “There’s a lot of tradition and history with a guy like Danny Smith.”
Smith had coached the Redskins’ special teams unit since Joe Gibbs’ return in 2004. An immensely popular coach with players, Smith’s units always thrived in kick and punt coverage. Washington had five field goals blocked in 2011 and another two punts blocked in 2012, but Smith has remained one of the league’s more respected and prepared special teams minds.
The Redskins replaced Smith with Keith Burns, formerly a special teams assistant in Denver.