Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel has been cut.
what has become an annual thing, teammates, coaches and local
celebrities took part Wednesday night in shaving Keisel in the “Shear Da
Beard” event. - stele.rs/1eXWR8g
has also now become an annual event is the Steelers having to cut aging
players, especially from the defensive side of the ball where several
starters qualify for the NFL's version of the AARP card - four starters
on defense were over the age of 30, including three in the secondary.
age, though, finally took its heaviest toll during the 2013 season. The
Steelers saw their worst defensive performance (14th in points allowed,
13th in yards allowed and 27th in turnovers forced) in over a decade.
Steelers are moving in the right direction regarding this, however,
having shaved two years off the average age of the defense over the last
where Keisel comes in. Cutting ties with him, as well as at least a
couple of others this offseason, would move the team further in that
direction. But that's something for which Keisel isn't quite ready.
feel like I can still play," Kesiel said back on December 25 just
before the end of the season. "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.” - http://tinyurl.com/k8m29uh
time is coming rapidly now. Keisel's contract will expire at 4 p.m. on
March 12 and, if he is asked to come back for a 13th season, he'll be 36
years old in September. He holds out hope in his heart, but his head is
tells him something else.
know it's a business,” Keisel said. .... "(But) I bleed black and gold.
Everybody knows that. I am a Yinzer, and I love this city and plan on
raising my family here.”
think I’ve got a couple [years] left in me,” Keisel recently told Scott
Van Pelt and Ryan Russillo. “I feel great and still feel like I can
play. We’ll see what happens.”
all well and good, but the Steelers made a similar mistake when holding
on to Aaron Smith too long a few years ago. Injuries took over and
ended his career before he actually hung up his cleats. Keeping him on
the roster, partially due to sentimentally and partially due to a lack
of a viable replacement behind him, hamstrung the team.
has seen his playing time diminish because of injuries lately as well.
It may not be as bad of a situation as it was with Smith, but a similar
such move can't be repeated.
he does return, though, he’ll certainly make far less than the $2.825
million he earned in 2013. Also, though he has been big for the Steelers
in the past, sentiment can't be allowed to sway thinking again.
If It Ain't Steel leans toward bringing him back for the veteran
minimum, $940,000 for someone of his tenure, and to have him play Mentor
to the team's version of Telemachus, we realize that the timing for
both parties is an issue.
an old dog ready, willing and/or able to be taught a new trick in
another team's system? Juxtapose the Steelers in that question regarding
being able to move on with the lot they have.
Steelers are in a slightly better situation this time around on the
defensive line in that both Steve McLendon and Cameron Heyward are
playing better or are simply better players than what was behind Smith.
Also, Al Woods stepped up and showed that he could be the new Chris Hoke
- if not more.
still remain with the D-Line as well, though. Should Ziggy Hood be
released or signed for minimum as backup nose tackle/defensive end? Do
the Steelers draft a nose tackle or let Hebron Fangupo step into that
role? A player the coaching staff is high on, actually.
those questions can be addressed as we move further into the offseason.
Decisions regarding the newly shorn Brett Keisel begin March 12 as to
whether or not we'll have the shear delight of No. 99 kicking
the follicle out opposing linemen for one more year.