Yet another WOW of an editorial by our very own Chidi!
Think of the ending of a football movie. You probably envisioned a slow motion, last second hail mary or dive at the goal line. The team wins the championship, the quarterback leaps into the arms of his lineman, and the head coach is carried off the field while the cameras flash around him.
They are considered the heroes of the game.
Nobody pictured the team's contract negotiator.
Half of the fans don't know that is a job. Fewer know the Steeler who has that role. Yet he is one of the most invaluable pieces on the team.
Omar Khan is that man and the person to thank for the way the roster is shaped today.
Now 34, he was hired by the team ten years ago after graduating from Tulane and working with the Saints. Every contract agreed upon has been drawn up by him.
He's been apart of Ben Roethlisberger's mega-deal. He's inked Casey Hampton and Brett Keisel with financially friendly contracts. He swooped Ryan Clark out of Miami's hands at the last minute.
Khan's presence was felt more this year than any other point. He went to work after the lockout ended and the floodgates opened.
He signed Ike Taylor to a 4 year, 28 million deal. A definite steal, far below what Jonathan Joseph and Nnamdi Asomugha received. Willie Colon was given a similar contract. LaMarr Woodley became the team's highest paid defensive player in history. The deal was comparable to Elvis Dumervil's despite Woodley being a much better player.
All seven draft picks were signed in time to practice. Additionally, Khan signed 19 undrafted free agents.
One of the biggest concerns was the return of the salary cap after a new CBA was reached. The team was one of the highest in the red being up to fifteen million over. With only so much money able to be taken off the books releasing players, Khan restructured the contracts of five players including Roethlisberger and James Harrison. He was masterfully able to create a win-win situation. Get the team under the cap and have the players keep all their money.
All this was done in one week and three days. It's safe to say coffee became his best friend.
Unfortunately for the team, he may soon move on up the ranks. He narrowly missed the General Manager job in Seattle losing out to John Schneider. It won't be long until he's considered elsewhere.
A quick search of him on the Steelers website yields just his name and title, Director of Business and Administration. Sandwiched between a laundry list of names, he's easy to overlook.
But his contributions to the team shouldn't be.
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