maybe he was afraid bellicheat was recording them and he needed to speak in code or tongues ?
Keisel reflects on possibly playing final game as a Steeler
By Mark Kaboly
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 25, 2013
The look on Brett Keisel's face didn't match the words coming out of his mouth.
The veteran defensive end, who worked his way onto the Steelers roster as the 242nd pick in the draft more than a decade ago and became a face of the franchise with some of the big-boy first-round picks, said things like: “I'm focused on being a Steeler” and “I love being a Steeler and hopefully can keep it going.”
But Keisel has been around long enough to see some of his closest friends — most recently Casey Hampton, Aaron Smith and James Farrior *— go through the same situation, and it has yet to work out well for the player.
Keisel's contract will expire at 4 p.m. March 12, and even though he's holding out hope he will be asked to return for a 13th season, his head is telling him otherwise.
“It's possible,” Keisel said. “I feel like I can still play. We will see what happens. I try not to think about it too much because I am still here and still part of the team and still fighting with these guys. When the time comes, I will sit down with my family and decide what is best.”
But what's best for Keisel likely won't be what's best for the Steelers.
The Steelers are in dire need of getting younger and cheaper on the defensive side of the ball. They've shaved two years off the average age of their defense over the past two years, and cutting ties with Keisel and others this offseason would help that along even more.
“I know it's a business,” Keisel said.
Keisel's introduction to the Heinz Field crowd Sunday before the regular-season finale against Cleveland very well could be his last.
“You hate thinking about the end and not being able to do it,” Keisel said.
“You can't say that you don't think about it. I bleed black and gold. Everybody knows that. I am a Yinzer, and I love this city and plan on raising my family here.”
If it is indeed Keisel's final game, he's left an indelible mark on the city and the franchise more than just being known as the “Beard.”
• Keisel's 140 career games played are 40th on the all-time Steelers list.
• Over the past decade, only Ike Taylor (169) Larry Foote (154), Farrior (154) and Ben Roethlisberger (142) have played in more games.
• Keisel won the Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2011 for his efforts on and off the field.
• Keisel helped raise money to benefit cancer programs at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC with the Shear Da Beard event.
• He started on two Super Bowl teams and was part of another.
• He was named to the 2010 Pro Bowl.
“He's just the consummate Steelers inside player,” former Ravens coach and current NFL Network analyst Brian Billick said. “Those inside guys have to do yeoman's work, tying up the blockers and freeing the linebackers.
“He's been such an anchor; there's such a lineage at that position. I think he's the prototypical inside defender.”
Keisel never had the huge numbers — 51⁄2 sacks and 63 tackles being career highs — but his relentless hustle resonated with teammates, the organization and the fans.
“I don't even know how old he is,” defensive end Cameron Heyward said. “He plays like a 24-year-old the way he runs and attacks the ball. It is unheard of for a 35-year-old to play like that. He runs hard to the ball and you have no choice but to do it yourself.”
You put the hustle together with how he was a seventh-round pick and, of course, the beard, and you can't talk about the Steelers of the 2000s without talking about Keisel.
“He kind of built himself into the face of the Steelers,” defensive end Ziggy Hood said. “When you think of the Steelers you think of Ben, you think of Troy and you think of the beard. To lose a guy like that is losing an icon. To me, it is losing a great teacher, a great mentor and good friend.”
Keisel was kind of uneasy about being mentioned with Polamalu and Roethlisberger as a face of the franchise, saying “I don't know about that,” but it has been undeniable.
“He's taught me that you don't have to be the fastest, the strongest and the quickest out there, but just to be relentless to the ball,” Hood said. “Watch the tape and you see that 99 jersey flash across the screen and make tackles from the backside even if he is nowhere near the play, he is there.”
Keisel has been battling a foot injury that kept him out of three games and parts of two others. However, the thought of ending his Steelers career on the bench has motivated him to get back on the field.
Keisel had a sack and a fumble recovery within three plays of each other with the Packers game tied at 31-31 on Sunday.
“I want to go down fighting with my teammates,” Keisel said. “Whatever happens, I want to be out there playing with them.”
Friday, December 27, 2013
WHAT HAPPENS TO KEISEL?
The Steelers face lots of difficult personnel decisions this coming off-season.
But none will be tougher than deciding what to do with DE Brett Keisel.
Keisel had a great game at Green Bay. He looked like the Diesel of old, racking up a sack and fumble recovery in the fourth quarter of a 38-31 victory.
But Keisel is 35, and very often hurt. He's missed four games and parts of others. He's currently battling a foot injury. Keisel is excellent when available. How often will Keisel be available moving forward? I'm asking, not accusing.
The Steelers should be merciless when it comes to rebuilding, especially on defense. If they are, where does that leave Keisel? Unlike some Steelers (see Woodley, LaMarr) who might face the ax, Keisel has an excellent attitude, exemplary work ethic and great leadership capabilities. He’s a true Steeler.
But that doesn't matter. After a second straight non-playoff season, it can't.
S Troy Polamalu is another true Steeler. He's scheduled to make $8.25 million in 2014, the last season of his deal. Polamalu, 32, has stayed healthy and made great impact despite often playing linebacker instead of his usual safety position. He ranks fourth in the NFL with five forced fumbles.
But will Polamalu take a pay cut if asked? I'll ask Polamalu that question when he appears on my show today at 3:15 p.m.
These are great players and honorable men. Minorities on both counts.
But, assuming the Steelers beat Cleveland Sunday, 8-8 almost certainly won't make the playoffs. In fact, 8-8 may do even worse damage. It may flatter to deceive. It may convince the Steelers organization that the team is better than it is. If change is minimized, progress will be insignificant.
"But, assuming the Steelers beat Cleveland Sunday, 8-8 almost certainly won't make the playoffs. In fact, 8-8 may do even worse damage. It may flatter to deceive. It may convince the Steelers organization that the team is better than it is. If change is minimized, progress will be insignificant."
This statement is absolutely true, and it is a reflection on the coaching (or lack thereof) as well as the players.
Keisel, Clark face uncertain futures with Steelers
By F. Dale Lolley
published dec 31, 2013
PITTSBURGH – Brett Keisel choked up and had to turn away for a moment as he spoke with reporters about his future following the Steelers’ 20-7 victory over the Cleveland Browns Sunday.
Regardless of whether the Steelers’ season continued or not, the defensive end knew there was a good chance he had played his final game at Heinz Field.
“I told my guys in the d-line room that it’s always different,” said Keisel, who was selected by the Steelers in the seventh round of the 2002 draft.
“This will be the last time that we get to stand together in that spot with this group of guys. The way the league is, you change every year, no matter what.
“It was emotional. I’m just proud to be a Steeler and proud to have helped finish this thing strong.”
Safety Ryan Clark was in the same situation.
Clark, whom the Steelers signed as a free agent from Washington in 2006 to replace Chris Hope, like Keisel is not under contract for 2014.
Following Sunday’s game, Clark gave his jersey and cleats to a fan before heading to the locker room for perhaps the final time.
“It could be the last game,” said Clark, who like Keisel is a 12-year veteran. “If it is, I thought it would be cool to give somebody the jersey and the cleats that I wore in the last game. I thought it would be a nice souvenir for the fans who did come out and stayed in the rain for a 7-8 football team, who a lot of people thought didn’t have a lot to play for. I thought it would be a cool gesture if it is my last game.”
Keisel and Clark are two of the 23 free agents the Steelers, who finished the season 8-8, just missing the playoffs, will have to make decisions about over the next two months before the free agency period begins March 11.
Both would like to return to Pittsburgh but understand that at their advanced ages - Keisel is 35, Clark 34 - it might not be in the cards.
And both made strong pitches to stick around.
Though he missed four games this season with a painful foot injury, Keisel finished the season with 40 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Clark, meanwhile, joined linebacker Lawrence Timmons as the only players on the team with 100 tackles and tied for the team lead with two interceptions.
Neither sounded ready to quit playing football. But neither were veterans such as Hines Ward, James Farrior or Casey Hampton, other veterans the team has either released or not re-signed in recent years who wound up failing to find any interest on the open market.
“I’m going to play. It might not be here. That’s up to the Rooneys and (general manager) Kevin Colbert, but I’m going to play,” said Clark. “When you finish with 100 tackles, it shows you can get around the ball. And they changed a lot about how I had to play this year because we had some injuries. It kind of limited me to doing certain things. But it’s what the team needed.
“I feel good. I’m a 12-year guy. I understand that. But I’m a 12-year guy who didn’t miss a practice. I’ve been blessed to be healthy, and as long as I’m healthy, I want to give it a shot.”
If Keisel leaves, the Steelers will be down to five players who have played in all three of their recent Super Bowl appearances - quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, tight end Heath Miller, safety Troy Polamalu, cornerback Ike Taylor and linebacker Larry Foote. And Foote suffered a season-ending arm injury in this year’s regular season opener and also could be released in the offseason.
Without Keisel and Clark, the Steelers could have a void in leadership to fill. They were two of the team’s four captains this season, the only defensive players chosen by their teammates to fill that role.
They were a key factor in the team continuing to play hard after the team’s 2-6 start.
“Guys could have packed it up a couple of weeks ago, but we have to give credit to our captains, just leading us,” said third-year defensive end Cameron Heyward. “We’ve been very fortunate to have guys that care about this team, because there are other teams that would have just packed it up.”
Instead of metaphorically packing things in during the season, two of those captains could be packing their stuff for the final time this week.
“Coming out of Washington, they gave me an opportunity to play in a Super Bowl,” said Clark. “Some of my best friends are here in Pittsburgh. There’s people I’ll remember forever. It’s been a blessing and honor to play for an organization like this. I hope to continue playing, but if not, there will be no hard feelings, nothing but great memories.”
Odds and end zones
The Steelers signed running back Alvester Alexander, wide receivers Justin Brown and Kashif Moore, guards Bryant Browning and Chris Hubbard, safety Ross Ventrone and linebacker Kion Wilson to Reserve/Future contracts. All seven finished the season on the Steelers’ practice squad.
While the offense seemed to be rolling late in the season, it is far from a complete work of art. IMO, the Front Office is fooling themselves if they think our OL is anything more than mediocre. We need the next Heath Miller now not two years from now and we need another very good WR to help Brown out and to be there if Brown gets hurt.
The defense is a much bigger problem. They are consuming a ton of cap space and we have major holes at ILB, pass rushing OLB, Free Safety and we need another good CB. I actually feel much better about the defensive line than many do because I think if we keep Hood we have enough bodies to do what they are asked to do. It is the "splash play" positions that we have major issues as evidenced by our inability to get sacks and INTs.
I don't see any reason that Keisel can't be the backup at vet minimum or slightly above, he had a good year and probably can play in a limited role, it's not like he's breaking the bank as it is. Troy almost certainly has to take a pay cut even though he had a great year and Clark I think will be gone, his style of play is a liability in today's NFL. If Clark is cut, I think he will catch on with another team, Keisel might get an offer, but I think he'll hold out in hopes of signing back on with the Steelers for one more year as the backup or retire. I just don't see Keisel accepting an offer from another team.
It will also surprise me if Ziggy Hood is let go; regardless of what fans think, it seems the team still believes he can be a productive DE for the Steelers.
Last edited by papillon; 01-03-2014 at 10:22 AM.
1.22) Alvin "Bud" Dupree, OLB/DE, Kentucky
2.56) Senquez Golson, CB/S, Ole Miss
3.87) Sammie Coates, WR, Auburn
4.121) Doran Grant, CB, OSU
5.160) Jesse James, TE, PSU
6.199) Letterius Walton, DT, Central Michigan
6.212) Anthony Chickillo, DE, Miami
7.239) Gerod Holliman, FS, Louisville
I’m gonna protect him from himself (James Harrison). He and Will Allen are too old to be working right now. - Mike Tomlin