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Colbert: Rainey lost Steelers’ ‘trust’

By Alan Robinson
Steelers Reporter

Published: Wednesday, January 16, 2013, 2:32 p.m.
Updated 12 minutes ago

The Steelers did not know they couldn‘t officially waive running back Chris Rainey for three more weeks when they cut him last week, but general manager Kevin Colbert said Wednesday that wouldn‘t have influenced their decision.

“That decision has been made,” Colbert said during an interview with a small group of reporters. “He had lost the trust of the organization.”

Rainey was cut a week ago following his arrest in Gainesville, Fla., on a charge he slapped his girl friend. Rainey also got into trouble over a text message he sent to a woman in 2010.

Even if Rainey had returned next season, Colbert strongly hinted there will be changes made at running back — a position he singled out for being unproductive. The Steelers ran for the second fewest yards in any season since 1978, and no back produced even 700 yards in an offense that was designed to re-emphasize the running game.

“(The production) was indicative of the talent at the position,” Colbert said. “They didn‘t produce the way we anticipated.”

Colbert also strongly hinted the Steelers won‘t sign any of their unrestricted free agents — a group that includes Keenan Lewis, Mike Wallace and Ramon Foster — before they go on the open market. One reason is such a market establishes a player‘s worth.

He said hinted the Steelers are unlikely to pin the franchise or transition tag on any player to retain him. “When you‘re 8-8, you don‘t have many franchise players,” he said.

During his 34-minute interview, Colbert referred often to the Steelers being an 8-8 team — a result he strongly hinted will require changes, some of them difficult ones such as contract terminations.

He said it is easy to get “mesmerized” after a team goes 12-4, as the Steelers did each of the previous two seasons, but that a “disappointing” season like this one requires moves to be made.

Not making the playoffs was “unacceptable,” he said.

Colbert also said:

• He didn‘t detect any tension between offensive coordinator Todd Haley and Ben Roethlisberger. Colbert, much like team president Art Rooney II, was more than happy with the way the offense produced before Roethlisberger got hurt midway through the season.

• The Steelers peaked when they beat the Bengals, Redskins and Giants in succession at midseason, but never played to that level again offensively or defensively.

• The blame for the 8-8 season largely falls upon him because he was the one who assembled the talent.

• Outside linebacker LaMarr Woodley‘s down season — he had only four sacks — was not a lack of effort, but rather a downfall in performance, with no single reason to blame.

• The Steelers have passed on a not insignificant numbers of players in past drafts because of character issues, including first-round picks.

• He is excited team executive and cap specialist Omar Khan remains among the candidates for the Jets‘ general manager‘s job, saying Khan is ready for such a job.

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