INDIANAPOLIS – One factor the Steelers weighed when hiring Danny Smith was his ties to the area, Steelers GM Kevin Colbert said Thursday.
Smith spent nine seasons in Washington but was lured away last month by his hometown NFL team, which offered him a three-year contract and a bump in salary, according to a source.
“Coach [Mike] Tomlin identified Danny through his own process,” Colbert said at the NFL’s Scouting Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. “He’s known Danny and worked against him in certain situations. 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.”
Colbert added: “I knew Danny. He’s a Pittsburgh guy. There’s a lot of value in having Pittsburgh people join the organization, because as we stated earlier in talking about [scout] Bill Nunn, there’s a lot of tradition and history with a guy like Danny Smith and [offensive coordinator] Todd Haley. They understand and accept and want to be a big part of that.”
Smith was born and raised in Pittsburgh. The 59-year-old was replaced in Washington by former Broncos’ assistant special teams coach Keith Burns.