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Brett Keisel Feels Like He Can Still Play When Healthy


With the season winding down, the discussion is slowly turning towards which Pittsburgh Steelers players might be playing their final few games in the black and gold. One of those players that might not get to put on the uniform at all for the final two games is defensive end Brett Keisel, who is currently sidelined with a foot problem.

Keisel, who is 35 years of age and in the final year of his contract, sounds like he's not ready to call it quits after 12 seasons.

“I’m never going to quit,” Keisel told steelers.com. “I understand what’s going on with this being the last year of my contract, and I’m the oldest guy on the defense and what not. I still feel like I can play if I’m healthy.

“That’s probably been the most frustrating part, knowing I can still do it and not being able to.”

Before going down in the game against the Buffalo Bills back in Week 10 with his foot problem, Keisel had registered two sacks, four hits and 14 hurries on the season and that translates to a modest 6.5 pass rush productivity number.

Being as Keisel is well on the wrong side of 30, his chances of returning in 2014 are slim. If the Steelers do decide to bring him back for one more ride, however, the Brigham Young product would have to sign a one-year qualifying contract for the minimum with no guarantee he will start. Those kind of decisions are also usually put off until June or later, so Keisel will have quite a wait ahead of him.

Right now, Keisel just wants to make it back on the field before the season is over.

“This has been hell, just sitting around and wishing I could be out there with my teammates,” he said.

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About Dave Bryan

I am, I'm me. 40 something, retired and a life long Steelers fan.
  • srdan

    The title of this article doesn’t make sense. Aaron Smith can say the same thing today.

  • steeltown

    I hope we bring him back for one more year (vet minimum) he would provide solid depth and can still be productive, What some don’t realize is that even though he was drafted in 2002 and is technically a 12yr vet, he didn’t start full time (or replace Von Oelhoffen) until the 2006 season, so he only has 8 seasons of wear on the tires as an every day starter

  • chris ward

    Keisel had a great career in Pittsburgh, but I don’t see the Steelers bringing him back in 2014.

  • steeltown

    To be honest I don’t see them bringing Hood back, so Keisel on a minimum vet qualifying deal is a real possibility

  • Dale

    Right. The question is whether he can stay healthy. I really like the guy; I don’t know if it’s time to say goodbye or not, but I’ll be sorry to see him go whenever that time comes.

  • chris ward

    I agree i don’t see the Steelers bringing back Hood. I just don’t know how much Keisel has left at the age of 35. I think father time might have caught up to him.

  • srdan

    True, but age is age, wear or not.

    He has been on the field consistently without injury for us. I commend him for that. I personally always thought that he was a bit overrated. But then again, following up in Kemo and Aaron Smiths shoes, is no easy task.

  • Jollyrob68

    Time to move on.

  • steeltown

    I think it would cost 955K to sign Keisel for the 2014 season, I think that’d be well worth the money

  • srdan

    It kind of goes back to our discussion yesterday. If this milion could be used to help sign hood instead….it would be hard to justify. To me hood can’t expect more than 2-3 mil a year on the open market. What do 3/4 DEs get?

  • JohnnyV1

    Resources are needed to sign Al Woods, and possibly Ziggy Hood. We can’t keep letting the Keenan Lewis types (solid young starter) depart. Unless we’d like to continue the trend downward and have a worse record next year.

  • srdan

    I dont think we let hood and worldis leave. One of them will be back. AGreed? And if you do, i sure hope your statement is right ahaha

  • steeltown

    Need only look at the roster to see which position is in need of more depth (OLB)

  • dgh57

    I like Keisel he’s one of my top 3 favorite defensive players but taking out my feelings for the guy the Steelers FO is going to make the best business decision they think is possible when it comes to Keisel. First up is his age and how many more years can I expect from him along with can he stay healthy enough to contribute to the success of this franchise? Ziggy Hood is younger, can be signed to a longer contract, and has a history of staying healthy. Hoods bad points is his production on the field so if you’re looking for a backup DE then Hood may be the answer. Or they may decide to go in a completely different direction and go with Brian Arnefelt so in the end time will tell all. Having said all that I wish Keisel could get on the field these last two games because I don’t want to see him possibly go out this way!

  • T R

    Actually title

  • T R

    Actually tittle makes allot of sense. It’s a lot of healthy people that can’t play even though they healthy. Play to him means good

  • Rick M

    Whenever you get a 35-year-old player saying I can still play well “if I’m healthy”, it’s not a good sign. It’s tough enough to keep a player who turns 36 on September 19, 2014. It’s even tougher when you ask yourself ‘do I want to take up a roster spot for a 36-year-old who most likely won’t stay healthy’.

    If he had been healthy the last couple of years this is a no-brainer. Sign him for the veteran minimum. But given his age and recent health history, I just can’t see the Steelers signing him for 2014.

  • WilliamSekinger

    A 1 year qualifying contract sounds pretty good to me. Keisel has given so much to the this team, it would be a shame to just cut him. 1 year playing a backup and/or sub role should definitely be considered.

  • DrakePirate

    Kiesel … time to move on, thanks for the memories … time to start fresh … hood will be brought back as he should be.

  • srdan

    I dont disagree with you, but what exactly do you mean when you say “he has given so much”?

  • JC Chuta

    Sorry, Brett. We love you and praise you for your great years, but it is time to go. At your age, the chances of you being a “bench warmer” are very high.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    I have reached that 40 age. I lettered 8 times in High School. I played competitive soccer in college. I played city league softball until 35 when I moved and didn’t have a team. I played again last year. Guess what? Things that you could do even the year before, sometimes the body just won’t let you do them any more. James Harrison, Aaron Smith, James Farrior, Hines Ward….all of these guys thought the same thing. The reality is, you get to a point where you tell your body to go to that spot, and the reaction time to make it happen just doesn’t happen as quickly as one would like. That is the reality.

  • srdan

    I fully agree.
    I think when people talk about “he is too old” is almost like a car warranty. 7 years, or 100k miles. The terms are longer in the NFL, The latter only applies to RBs and sometimes LBs. But age gets everyone.

  • Anthony Hodge

    I don’t post a lot but when I saw this article it made me wonder…If we’re going to get younger and better I’d say move McClendon to DE -move “Little Big Snack” Al Woods to NT and Cam stays at DE….ORRRRRR, have a multiple D in a 4-3 alignment with McClendon,Woods,Hood and Heyward in that front 4 with Worilds @ LOLB,Timmons @ MLB and Jones @ ROLB…That way we utilize everyone….Just a thought.

  • sean mcmartin

    I thought the same about Hines Ward and james harrison, It sucks that some of the best Steelers players are now aging vets . And for many reasons there are not many young Steelers Players ready to hit the pro bowl every year.with the attendance down, That will get the attention of the business side of the Steelers ..Changes are coming soon. Just hope Colbert doesn’t miss on this upcoming draft and gets at least a tri-fecta

  • HopalongCassidy

    Hood is strong but has no technique. Perhaps he could be turned into an offensive Guard project where the skills he does have might be better utilized. That would be worth looking at. Otherwise I wouldn’t spend the money or hold a roster spot for him next year.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Keisel can still play but he is at a point where we need to move on unless he wants to sign for vet minimum and come off the bench to spot the starters.

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