After the first week of NFL firings and hirings, there have been a few big names signed or burned. Namely Chip Kelly spurning in the NFL again this year and making me look like a fool for writing an entire Cleveland story…oh well. General Manager hirings always take just a bit longer to get settled and this year has been no different. A week after everyone got fired on Monday December 31st, 2012, the Arizona Cardinals have hired a GM from within their organization, Steve Keim.
Ex-GM Rod Graves was fired immediately after the season, likely because of the terrible quarterback situation that Graves oversaw this season. Keim was Graves’ Vice President of Player Personnel and will now be given a chance to fix the quarterback situation in the desert. Hiring Keim as the new GM from within does make a lot of sense for the Arizona Cardinals because they have such quality players on defense and offense except for two of the most important positions, QB and RB. They have trotted out a long list of guys at the QB position since Kurt Warner retired and have had pretty consistent names at RB but none have produced at an acceptable level on a consistent basis. Steve Keim must begin working on fixing these two positions as soon as he finds a new head coach.
Keim has been with the Cardinals for 14 years and made it to GM the old-fashioned way, starting as a lowly regional scout. A lot of GM’s come from a more business side of the sport, but Steve Keim has been honing his skills with ex-GM Rod Graves for years now, assisting in the running of the scouting departments and helping with contract negotiations. He was given a shot at the St. Louis Rams’ GM opening last off-season but Les Snead was hired over him. Now Keim has a chance to show that he can be a successful football lifer gone GM.
Keim attended college at North Carolina State where he played Guard and was even an All-ACC player for two of his seasons there. I haven’t found if he graduated from NC State with a degree or not, but after he played a season in the NFL and a season in the CFL, Keim returned to NC State as a strength and conditioning coach. He also took on responsibilities that allowed him to learn more of the business side and eventually got his shot in 1999 as regional scout for the Arizona Cardinals.
Not many modern-day GM’s are football lifers, and even fewer are of the NFL washout type. Steve Keim has put in his time as a member of the Arizona front office and is an inspiration to people who dream of working as a GM one day. Putting in the grunt work and working hard will get you to where you want to go if you are put in a good situation. Steve Keim, I wish you good luck and you better get to work on that QB situation, it is a doozy.