Before returning to his hometown, Steelers G.M. Kevin Colbert spent five years as a scout with the Dolphins. Working with Don Shula.
Appearing on Tuesday’s #PFTPM, Colbert reflected on his time with the Hall of Famer, who died on Monday at the age of 90. Asked whether Colbert still uses lessons learned from Shula, Colbert didn’t have to stop and think.
“I can remember plain as day,” Colbert said. “We’re talking about a player, I don’t know which player it was. He just made the comment, ‘Well, when you got red paint, paint your barn red.’ And I was like, ‘Wow, that makes sense.’ He lived that when coaching the players that he had. He got the most out of them. When he had the great runners, they were running. When he had the great passer, Dan Marino, they were a passing team. I just always remember that. We still use that today in our own meetings. This is what this player is. When we get him, this is how we should probably use him.”
It’s the kind of observation that strips much of the complexity away from football. Ultimately, it’s about playing to a team’s strengths. About figuring out what your players can do, and doing those things.
Colbert also explained that Shula was demanding, but that he was demanding on everyone — young scouts like Colbert and 20-year assistant coaches alike.
“He made all of us better,” Colbert said. “Sometimes, you just think back and you have to pinch yourself and realize how fortunate you were to work for a man like that, especially at a young age like I was.”
For more from Colbert, check out the video of the full interview. Which coincidentally was recorded in a barn. A barn that was painted red.