"We've had preliminary discussions with Ike Taylor on a new contract," said the Steelers' director of football operations. "The other guys we've had discussion with in more of a matter-of-fact, ‘yes we want to keep as many guys as possible' (manner), but we're really just approaching this one guy at a time."
The Steelers passed on the opportunity to place the transition tag on Taylor prior to Thursday's deadline, and they did so, presumably, with the confidence that they can reach an agreement with Taylor, their soon-to-be 31-year-old cornerback.
Colbert wouldn't discuss how the talks with Taylor will be affected by the league's ongoing labor negotiations. In fact, Colbert couldn't even use the word "lockout" with reporters. But a lockout of the players from team facilities will occur March 4 unless the players and owners come to an agreement on a new CBA.
Colbert did discuss other team matters, specifically the dizzying situation at right offensive tackle, a position that appears to be Flozell Adams's to give away. Colbert was asked whether Adams has informed the team whether he's coming back to finish his contract next season.
"I think that Flozell is in the evaluation phase whether he wants to continue to play," Colbert said.
Do the Steelers want Adams back?
Colbert was asked what that would mean for former starter Willie Colon, whose agent has said that Colon has little chance of returning to the Steelers.
"First of all," Colbert said, "you don't know where Flozell is, whether he's going to continue or not, so you have to just continue the conversations with everybody. There are so many unknowns that you can't specifically say, ‘We're going to do this or that' because we haven't honestly approached guys in formal conversations."
Does Colbert want Colon back?
"Yes," Colbert said.
As for the combine business at hand, Colbert said this about the position groupings: "Offensive line, particularly tackle, wide receiver, and defensive back, particularly corner, are deeper than most."
Those are positions at which the Steelers need varying degrees of help, although Colbert would only scratch one position off the needs list.
"Take out the obvious position of quarterback," he said. "Any position is open to our potential drafting. I mean that sincerely. I don't know where we're going to be in two months."
The college prospects started to meet with NFL teams here on Wednesday night. Throughout Thursday the college offensive linemen, tight ends, kickers and punters met with the media. On Friday, they'll work out.
The Steelers apparently focused on guards the first night. Players such as Zach Hurd of UConn, Brandon Fusco of Slippery Rock, Andrew Jackson of Fresno State and Stefen Wisniewski of Penn State admitted to interviewing with the team. Tennessee tight end Luke Stocker was scheduled to meet with the Steelers last night.