We’ve long speculated that there’s still a possibility that the Pittsburgh Steelers will re-sign veteran free agent defensive end Brett Keisel later on in the summer and during the Monday’s pre draft press conference, head coach Mike Tomlin addressed his situation heading into the big weekend.
“The door is not closed to anybody that’s on the market as a free agent,” said Tomlin when asked about the possibility of Keisel returning. “I think at this point, we’re singularly focused on the draft and what this weekend holds and then we’ll gather those possibilities in the aftermath.”
So far this offseason, the Steelers have not re-signed Keisel and they’ve also lost free agent defensive linemen Ziggy Hood and Al Woods. To help fill that void, free agent defensive lineman Cam Thomas was signed and Tomlin admitted that there is likely still some work left to do when it comes to that position group.
“Obviously, we’re not done in that area, but also mention that we got some young people here that are working and we don’t expect them to be the same as they have been,” said Tomlin. “We expect improvement in some of the young people working here like [Brian] Arnfelt and Nick Williams, but obviously, it’s incomplete. We’ve lost more than we added and hopefully this weekend and beyond we’ll rectify that.”
The Steelers presence at the Notre Dame Pro Day several weeks ago could be a sign that either defensive end Stephon Tuitt or nose tackle Louis Nix III are in their second-round crosshairs. As of right now, Thomas appears set to be a swingman on the defensive line, but that of course could change quickly if Keisel is not re-signed.
It goes without saying that this weekend’s draft results should shed a little more light on not only Keisel’s situation, but the position group as a whole.