Draft Likely Spells The End For Former Steelers DE Brett Keisel

The NFL draft is an endless source of miracles, annually making dreams come true for hundreds of prospective athletes hoping to make it to the top echelon of their sport and chosen profession, even if many of those chosen don’t ultimately make it.

There’s the other side of the draft as well, the one less seen, and less obvious; the side that puts an end to a dream.

After all, there’s a finite number of roster spots throughout the entire league, and for every new player that enters league, one veteran will find himself on the outside looking in by the time the final 53-man roster is established.

It’s the proverbial circle of life, and it’s certainly not limited to just football, let alone to just sports. Everything gets replaced eventually, as some veterans of Pittsburgh Steelers teams of the past will likely be finding out now.

As recently as just before the draft, for example, it wasn’t a far-fetched notion that the Steelers would potentially be interested in re-signing defensive end Brett Keisel in June, depending on what the team was able to accomplish with their nine selections in the draft.

They were able to accomplish quite a bit along the defensive line as it turned out.

As a result, it’s become increasingly unlikely that they will be inquiring about the services of their former Pro Bowl veteran in the near future. In fact, he may find that his opportunities have run dry, and that it’s time to call it a career.

This has been an annual trend for former Steelers veterans of the past few years, including Aaron Smith, Chris Hoke, Casey Hampton, Hines Ward, and others.

A few, such as Ryan Clark and Larry Foote this offseason, have found not only the desire but the opportunity to extend their careers by at least another summer, but they, too, know that the end is quickly drawing near.

Ike Taylor, Troy Polamalu, and Heath Miller are among the current Steelers quietly approaching the end of the line, which in a way feels like the end of an era.

Of course, when a franchise quarterback is in the equation, eras are defined by their playing years. We’re still entrenched in the Ben Roethlisberger era, hopefully for at least another half-dozen seasons or so.

In all likelihood, however, this era will continue without the likes of Keisel in 2014 with the acquisitions of Stephon Tuitt, and Cam Thomas.

About the Author

Matthew Marczi
Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Steelers12328882

    Yup I agree. He’s done, but there’s always the Cardinals.

  • Kenneth Wilt

    Keisel now has to decide to play on with someone else or retire, those are his choices.

  • dgh57

    Yes, sadly I have to agree it’s not looking to good for “The Beard” to return and so I’ll miss him as he’s been one of my favorite Steeler players. It will probably take a injury along the DL for him now to return.

  • steeltown

    Newly acquired – Tuitt, C.Thomas, McCullers and Mauro… yea, sadly the Beard might be done in Pittsburgh (barring camp injury)

  • scott2443

    i am still holding out hope he can some how find him self back on team even knowing he wont be after this year he can still play but hate to see him just fall off team with out a goodbye and thanks for all memories …hope he retires then go to another team …but in saying that he has a good year 2 left in him as a back up as a team who might want him would be cardinals they seem to host alot of let go steelers

  • John C

    If he doesn’t end up anywhere (Cardinals), I am sure we will have him on speed dial for when that season ending injury happens to one of our DE’s.

  • Steelers12328882

    I’d love to see Kozora breakdown DE Josh Mauro 🙂

  • westcoasteeler

    End of an era! You opitimize Steeler Football, Brett!

  • Bill Sechrengost

    With the drafting of Tuitt and also signing Mauro and Hemer as UDFA’s, it seems the Steelers have moved on. If these guys play as hard as “The Beard,” they have enough talent to do well in this league. I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got.

  • Matt Manzo

    Mauro and Hemer vs Williams and Arnfelt is gonna be good!

  • swami

    My biggest fear: if Keisel isn’t re-signed, who among the veterans will be the ones to show the new DLs the Steeler Way?

  • Dan

    With our cap situation and obsession with youth and speed, this might be true. But injuries are common in the trenches and I’d expect it’s fairly likely a spot will open up for him, but maybe not until he’s already decided to retire or sign on elsewhere. Oh well.

  • Intropy

    Heyward has embraced it and seems to have the temperment to lead and desire to teach.

  • Matthew Marczi


  • PoKey21

    With so many of our vets not being able to find landing spots elsewhere in the NFL is it possible to draw a parallel that the Steelers are holding onto their veterans a couple years too long? I understand team loyalty to the players, but it feels like 10-15years ago the Steelers had a better feel as to when to cut ties with their veterans than they do now. Plz dont jump on my back for stating something anti-steelers either please. I would like to hear some intelligent counter points though. Jut not into dck measuring and name calling lol.

  • MC

    Sadly its looking that way. Always hard letting a player that contributed a lot to this team over years go, sad thing is i believe he definitely had at least another year of quality play in him.

  • Big White

    Front Office Position: Special Assistant to the Special Assistant Brett Keisel.

  • brent

    And Arnfelt who had a helmet by the end of the year.

  • Dan

    They certainly did hold onto most of the core players from the 2004-2010 run at least a year too long. Of course, part of that is because the Steelers doubled down with them to make a third Super Bowl run, and it almost paid off. Another reason why is because the 2008 and 2009 drafts turned out to be useless.

    The good news is, there are now only 10 players under contract with the team that are in their 30’s, and only three of them are on defense.

  • SJ Bobkins

    I’m sure his alma mater will have a place for Brett and their are teams that cannot stop the run such as da Bears), but it would be a huge mistake for the Steelers to let him leave. The man has become part of the community and the community has fully embraced Brett. It’s as if the guy is 5th generation western Penn. the Steelers must find a front office or on the field, job for the big man. I don’t think he has a problem with retiring as a player