Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was never spotted wearing a No. 99 jersey during any of the OTA and minicamp practices this offseason, but that doesn’t mean that he’s given up hope that the team will re-sign defensive end Brett Keisel prior to the start of the 2014 season.
During his Roethlisberger Foundation Invitational golf tournament on Monday, Roethlisberger took time out to talk to 93.7 The Fan about Keisel, who just so happened to be playing in the event.
“I think he looks good,” Roethlisberger said of Keisel. “I think if he has to miss training camp, I don’t think he’ll be too upset with that. I think we should bring him in right as training camp is over, even though he’s my roommate in training camp. I’d like for him to be there. We always have a good time, but I think that he should come back and another year of leadership would be great.”
While Roethlisberger didn’t let on like he knew what the future holds with Keisel, he did say that the 35-year-old defensive end wouldn’t suffer if he were to miss any of training camp.
“When your a veteran guy that’s been in the same defense for such a long time, you’re going to wear your body down,” he said. “So why not rest it and be healthy and ready to go for the season. I think it would be great that they bring him back and just kind of help these young guys with another year of leadership and a veteran.”
The Steelers have yet to give any indication as to whether or not Keisel will be re-signed, but head coach Mike Tomlin did say last Thursday that the team is keeping their options open as far as adding veteran players to their roster.
“I’m not opposed to anything that will increase our chances of winning. We’re open to all possibilities,” Tomlin said at the conclusion of the final mandatory minicamp practice.
There have been a few reports this offseason stating that Keisel has yet to clear out his locker at the Steelers facility, so perhaps there’s still a chance that Roethlisberger will have his normal roommate again this year when the team reports to Latrobe for training camp later next month. If not, we might just see him wearing that No. 99 jersey during a few of the early practices as a sign of respect.