So Omar Khan returns for at least one more year with the Steelers. That's good for the Steelers, too bad for Khan.

Khan deserves the opportunity to run his own NFL team. Yet, he's 0 for 3 after being passed over for front-office positions with Seattle, St. Louis and now the New York Jets.

It's back to the grind for Khan, the Steelers' director of football and business administration. Nice title, but it doesn't adequately describe Khan's value to the team.

Khan is much more than a "capologist," a financial expert versed in the nuances of the salary cap, but reputations can be difficult to shake.

Three times NFL teams have considered hiring Khan to be their general manager. We don't know if Khan's reputation for being a numbers guru is holding him back. Let's hope that isn't the case.

Still, you never know. The NFL fraternity is tough to crack. It sounds like Khan may need an owner who values winning above reputations and friendships.

"Omar is an integral part of the Steelers,'' said longtime Pittsburgh-based sports attorney Ralph Cindrich. "He's fair. He's firm. He's never blown a negotiation.

"Omar understands winning organizations,'' Cindrich said. "You don't work with the Rooneys and not understand how to win and how to conduct yourself."

The best way to describe what Khan means to the Steelers? They'd be in trouble without him.

"The capology part is replaceable. You have people out there who are able to do that. Replacing Omar as a negotiator, that's a big hole," Cindrich said.

Cindrich has represented several Steelers players over the past 30 years, including Hall of Fame center Dermontti Dawson and linebacker James Farrior. He's well aware of the Steelers' hardline business approach.

Cindrich wonders how a nice guy like Khan — who serves as a buffer between players and their agents, ownership, general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin — ever got involved in a nasty business like contract negotiations.

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