By Len Pasquarelli
ATLANTA - There are a lot of things to generally admire about the Pittsburgh Steelers, not the least of which is their usual preparedness, on and off the field. It was reported early this week that the St. Louis Rams have requested permission to interview Steelers director of business and administration Omar Khan for their general manager job. One of the NFL's premier salary cap experts, the departure of Khan would be a big loss for the Steelers, but not as significant as it would be if Pittsburgh didn't have a ready replacement already onboard.
Buried in the small type of the Steelers' front office/executives roster is veteran cap specialist Dan Ferens, who works for Pittsburgh in "business administration," and who essentially has been a cap consultant for the past several seasons. Ferens previously worked nearly 20 years for the Steelers, principally managing the cap, before exiting for a corporate gig at IMG in 1999, and then moving on to the Houston Texans as their chief negotiator in 2001.
Ferens resigned from the Texans in 2006 to be closer to his native Western Pennsylvania, then rejoined the Steelers a year later. If Khan leaves, Ferens would almost certainly be the choice as the club's new cap manager, and things would be in good hands, indeed.
The Rams, by the way, have interviewed 10 candidates for the GM post and figure to make a decision within a week. One element to watch is just how much control St. Louis cedes its new general manager. New coach Jeff Fisher is expected to hold sway over roster and personnel decisions, and that might preclude some candidates from being able to accept the job.