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Sunday Might Be The Last Time We See The Beard In Black and Gold


The Pittsburgh Steelers will close out their 2013 regular season at home Sunday against the Cleveland Browns and if the team fails to qualify for the playoffs, it very well could be the last game that veteran defensive end Brett Keisel plays if the team decides not to bring him back in 2014.

"It's possible," Keisel told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review about Sunday possibly being the end of the line for him. "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."

Keisel was drafted by the Steelers in the seventh-round of the 2002 NFL Draft out of Brigham Young, but he did not become a starter until 2006. Assuming he starts on Sunday against the Browns, it will be the 110th start of his career.

Keisel has been hampered by a foot injury during the second half of this season, but despite missing four games, he ranks third on the team in quarterback pressures (24) heading into the regular season finale. In addition, he ranks third on the Steelers defensive line with 36 tackles this season with 24 of them being solo.

Not only has Keisel been a contributor on the field for the Steelers, he's been an upstanding member of the Pittsburgh community as well. He's raised more than $100,000 for Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC with his annual Shear Da Beard event and just last week he dressed up as Santa Claus and headed to downtown Pittsburgh during lunch hour to help collect donations for the Salvation Army.

Father time is unfortunately undefeated, but Keisel has managed to hold him off longer than most players are able to. If indeed this is the final time that he dons the black and gold, he won't soon be forgotten. No. 99 will eventually be worn by other future Steelers players, but those players aren't likely to wear it as long and as gracefully as "The Beard" did. There will only be one Brett "The Diesel" Keisel and that beard of his was most definitely feared.

Win one for Keisel.

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About Dave Bryan

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

    Nooooo!
    Love the Beard

  • Berlusconi

    I hope he will be back. Dum spiro, spero

  • westcoasteeler

    Pure class, Brett!

  • Shea Fahr

    If he retires, he will still be in Pittsburgh and doing all of the great things he has done for the community. Be nice to see him coach D-Line someday. Thanks Brett!!

  • srdan

    He will be missed off the field.

  • Nolrog

    I hope they bring him back on a 1-year vet min deal (and maybe part ways with Hood in the process). He can still play, and should give us enough time to find a true successor.

  • BurgherinMD

    I still remember him helping to ice the AFCG in 05 in Denver. He definitely wants to come back and if he is amendable to playing for the minimum they would be crazy not to bring him back to at least rotate in and out and mentor the young guys.

  • Dwayne Ferguson

    Hope they can keep him on.

  • Callentown

    WHAT a great guy!! We love ya 99!!

  • Don2727

    Hope he is back for one year..However, i think that the Steelers youth at DE is solid and will be fine without him.. will hopefully have even better depth after the draft.

  • JohnB

    That last paragraph is gold.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    There is no reason to ditch Hood. He is playing unspectacular but solid football. Hood, Heyward, McLendon, and Woods is a good solid 4 man group. I would be okay with Keisel coming back on a small deal for depth. Add in a Nic Williams or Arnfelt and it gives us a solid group of 6 without having to take anyone in the draft.

  • Chad H

    Brett Kiesel is the definition of a Steelers player! Long live #99. You are great on and off the field. I will miss the beard.

  • Alan Felicia

    Sorry, this defense need to get younger and back to being Elite. This defense has been less than average and this year they’re in the bottom half in Rushing Yards allowed (currently ranked 22nd), INTs (ranked 18th), FF (ranked 21st) and Points allowed (18th).
    Keisel had a solid career and he will be missed. At 36 years old next season, I just feel the roster spot would better serve a younger player who’s ready to play than to Keisel. He’s mentored Heyward, Hood, and McLendon this past few years. Its time to say goodbye.

  • RMSteeler

    In yesterday’s Trib-Review, Kaboly listed Keisel’s stats over the years as provided by the Steelers. Kaboly said Keisel was named to one Pro Bowl, in 2010. If you look at the stats, Keisel’s numbers this year are almost identical for 2010. He improved on those numbers in 2011 and 2012, and started all 16 games in 2012. If the docs think he can fully recover from his foot injury, I say bring him back for another year and let the youngsters compete against him in camp. Without Brett pushing Hood’s motivation, who knows if he progresses.

  • srdan

    Looking at a 3-4 DE stats is like counting how many steps golfers took for a round and then trying to figure out who won. Somewhat telling, but more than likely completely irrelevant.

    I also think that pro-bowls are not that telling. When you have kiesel competing with dwight freeney for a spot, it’s hard. You almost have to be the perfect player.

  • Dan

    Of course Brett would also have to make a personal decision if he wants to commit another year of his time, energy and further bodily punishment to the cause for a modest salary. But I completely agree. If he is willing, it would be great to keep him around to push and counsel the younger guys and be available for the DE rotation.

  • Douglas Andrews

    B Kiesel is one of my favorite Steelers. The guy shows up to training camp with a Tractor! Having said that I’d like to see him back for a 1yr Vet minimum as long as he’s brought back for depth. I have no doubt that he can play i’m just concerned about his age and him being injured again.

  • Jonathon Bert Schade

    Along with Aaron and Casey, perhaps the best 3-4 DL of all time!

  • Steve

    With ya on Brett. It was a good run, but all good things come to an end. We need to get young and quick, not old and slow and hurt a lot. We have a good young group with Heyward, Mac, Woods and Hood. Thanks for the good years “Da Beard” it has been fun.

  • Steve

    No one is perfect but you have to be very good to make the Pro Bowl. Don’t hear Ike crying about not making the Pro Bowl this year? AB and Ben should be in it. Heyward had a good year but there has to be something special to be in the Pro Bowl and our “D” did NOT have that “Something Special” year.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Love to see him back next year but only as a back up…we need to go young.

  • Mike Sweeney

    Still draws a lot of attention still and still gets the job done!!!!! He bleeds, black and gold and works his tail off to become better despite his age, unlike some players(we all know, who they are)!!!! That motor and presence is done so I certainly hope another year of leadership, determination and will to win, is back for another run! The beard is one of my fave’s of all time!!!!!!!

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