In what continues to be one of the widest ranging general manager searches in recent history, the Steelers announced three more interviews that took place earlier this week. Jerry Reese, Rick Spielman, and Doug Whaley were added to a list of interviewed candidates that now totals up to 16.
Reese is a former general manager for the Giants. Reese served 23 years in New York’s front office starting as a college scout and progressing through the roles of pro scout to director of player personnel and, eventually, to general manager. His first season as general manager saw the team win their first Super Bowl in 17 years, and the Giants earned a second ring under Reese just four years later. After a 2-10 start to the 2017 season, Reese was fired along with then-head coach Ben McAdoo in a rare midseason double canning. In the years since his firing, teams have reached out to Reese. In 2018, Reese turned down an interview for the Raiders’ general manager position that would eventually go to Mike Mayock. Last year, Reese interviewed for the Panthers’ and Jaguars’ open general manager jobs that eventually went to Scott Fitterer and Trent Baalke, respectively. This is the first time Reese’s name has been mentioned in general manager searches this year.
Spielman is a longtime veteran of NFL front offices who formerly served as the general manager for both the Dolphins and the Vikings. In 1990, Spielman started in Detroit as a college scout for five seasons before adding pro scouting responsibilities to his plate for two more. Spielman took on the position of director of pro personnel for the Bears in 1997 and, three years later, took a similar role as vice president of player personnel in Miami. In four seasons, Spielman elevated to senior vice president of football operations to eventually spend one season as the team’s general manager. Spielman left the role and worked 2005 with ESPN as an NFL analyst before returning to football as the vice president of player personnel for the Vikings the next year. After six seasons in that role, Spielman was elevated to general manager, a position he held until being fired a little over two months ago. For the Vikings, Spielman saw success in all aspects of player acquisition bringing in contributors like wide receiver Mike Wallace through trade and quarterback Kirk Cousins through free agency. He also had an eye for undrafted talent, signing the likes of safety Andrew Sendejo and wide receiver Adam Thielen. This is the first job interest he’s received since being fired earlier this year.
Whaley is another former NFL general manager, this time for the Bills. He began his NFL career as a pro personnel coordinator for the Steelers in 2000. For ten years he worked under Kevin Colbert and is credited with helping to scout and draft such defensive stars as pass rusher Lamarr Woodley, safety Troy Polamalu, and linebacker Lawrence Timmons. Whaley was eventually named the assistant general manager and director of pro personnel for the Bills in 2010. Three years later, Whaley took over for Buddy Nix as general manager. He notably moved up in the draft to select wide receiver Sammy Watkins, a move questioned by some as fellow receivers Mike Evans, Odell Beckham Jr., and Brandin Cooks were picked later in the same draft. He also notably traded linebacker Kiko Alonso for running back LeSean McCoy in 2015, seeing McCoy enjoy great success for the next three years as a Bill. Whaley was relieved of his duties following the 2017 NFL Draft and became a recruiter for the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl for a season before getting hired as the senior vice president of football operations for the XFL. He was shortly laid off due to COVID-19, but was rehired recently as the league’s vice president of player personnel. Like the other two names above, this is the first mention of interest in Whaley this year.
The Steelers continue to search far and wide in their efforts to replace Colbert. Stay up to date on the search through our 2022 NFL General Manager Search Tracker.