Meadville Tribune

Sports

August 15, 2013

PITTSBURGH STEELERS: Steelers DE Keisel gearing up for 12th season

LATROBE — Brett Keisel realizes this could be his final season with the Pittsburgh Steelers, the only NFL team the veteran defensive end has ever played for.

Keisel, who is in the final year of his contract, has no plans to retire at season’s end, and the reliable 34-year-old doesn’t plan to let those emotions affect his play on the field either.

“I’m not saying it will be my last season,” Keisel said. “I’m just saying it’s the last year on my contract. That’s all it is. I’m excited about this year, and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Age hasn’t caught up to the energetic Keisel, who is playing the best football of his career. Keisel started 30 of the previous 32 games, finishing with 58 tackles and a career-best 40 quarterback pressures last year. He earned his first career Pro Bowl nod in 2010 and was named a third alternate the following year.

“I don’t feel like age has bothered him at all,” Steelers’ linebacker Lawrence Timmons said. “Brett has been here for a long time and he provides energy to our defense. He has some type of youth juice.”

The Steelers are in the process of instituting a youth movement on defense, revamping an aging veteran group that made three Super Bowl appearances and captured two championships. Several long-time members of those championship teams, vital to the Steelers’ success, are gone. The list includes Aaron Smith, Chris Hoke, and James Farrior, in addition to Casey Hampton and James Harrison, who weren’t retained in the offseason.

Keisel, despite his stellar play, realizes he could be next. It’s a sensation fellow 12-year veteran Larry Foote knows all too well.

“It’s a feeling that comes on later in your career where you know this could be your last year, it could be your last game,” said Foote, who was also drafted in 2002, the same year as Keisel.

“You have to work that much harder, be that much more focused because you’re trying to prolong your career as long as you can.”

Keisel counts $4.5 million against the salary cap this year, and has 2011 first-round draft pick Cameron Heyward playing as his backup, a potential heir-apparent to the starting job at defensive end.

Keisel, the seventh-round draft pick out of BYU in 2002, is taking it in stride.

“I’m just enjoying it,” Keisel said. “I enjoy being a leader, helping out some of these young guys, and still having the opportunity to play.”

The young guys enjoy Keisel’s veteran presence.

“He helps you play fast, helps you play hard, and helps you play smart,” nose tackle Steve McLendon said. “Brett has two Super Bowls. We’re trying to get where Brett is. We’re trying to bring him number three.”

Keisel plays a big brother mentor role to the other members of the defensive line, while also providing energy and a stabilizing presence following the recent losses of Hampton and Smith.

“We need his leadership and everything he provides to get us through,” fifth-year defensive end Ziggy Hood said. “When we need answers we look for him. He’s always going to provide words of wisdom. If he leads us through, I’m going to follow.”

Keisel is unsure how his story will unfold. Another Super Bowl ring would provide the ideal ending, and he intends to do everything in his power to make sure that happens.

“I want to enjoy this year,” Keisel said. “I don’t know what’s going to happen with everything. I’m going to go out and give it my all and have fun and see what happens.

“If this is the end, then I want to go out on top. If it’s not the end, I’ll be excited to be here.”

1
Text Only
Sports
  • MLB replay Selig calls replay start ‘remarkable’

    Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig says the sport’s new replay system is working well despite a few problems during its first two weeks.
    While baseball began video review late in the 2008 season, it was limited to potential home runs and boundary calls. The new system that began March 30 vastly expands the types of plays that managers and umpires can ask to be reviewed at a replay center in New York.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cardinals roll to a sweep of Eagles

    The match only lasted three games, but Logan Herzberger still found the time to post a double-double, notching 14 kills and 18 digs while the Cochranton volleyball team swept Conneaut 25-22, 25-16, 25-18 during Region 1 action on Tuesday.

    April 15, 2014

  • Brendon Barclay Unbeaten Panthers need five games to top Bulldogs

    Through the first four games, there was no telling which team was undefeated and which team had only one win entering Monday night’s Region 1 volleyball clash between Meadville and Saegertown.
    By the fifth and deciding game, the cream rose to the top.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ogwumike goes No. 1

    It was a busy draft night for the Connecticut Sun.
    Minutes after taking Chiney Ogwumike with the top pick in the WNBA draft Monday night, the Sun made a blockbuster deal to trade 2012 MVP Tina Charles to the New York Liberty.

    April 14, 2014

  • Watson pulls away at Augusta to win second green jacket

    One of golf’s most exciting players squeezed most of the drama out of the Masters on Sunday. That’s just fine with Bubba Watson.
    All he cared about was slipping into that green jacket.
    Instead of hitting a 40-yard hook out of a forest of Georgia pines — the signature shot in his playoff victory two years ago — the final act Sunday at Augusta National took place on the 18th green. Watson had a three-shot lead and consulted with his caddie on a 15-foot birdie putt.

    April 14, 2014

  • Harvick survives shootout for win at Darlington

    Kevin Harvick used one of the few weekend missteps to pull out his first Darlington victory.
    Harvick was among several veteran drivers fighting for the Nationwide Series win Friday night when rookie Chase Elliott used fresher tires and a strong machine to move from the back of the pack to first place over the final two laps.

    April 14, 2014

  • Spezza lifts Senators to SO win over Penguins

    Jason Spezza scored in the shootout to help the Ottawa Senators beat the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday night and finish the season on a five-game winning streak.
    The teams were tied 2-2 after two periods and didn’t score in the third or overtime.

    April 14, 2014

  • Brewers sweep Pirates, win ninth straight

    Kyle Lohse was eager to top his Milwaukee teammates.
    He sure came close.
    Lohse came within an out of a complete game, and the Brewers won their ninth straight with a 4-1 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday.

    April 13, 2014

  • Ramirez lifts ChiSox over Indians

    Alexei Ramirez came up to the plate, ready to swing.
    Ramirez hit a two-run homer on the first pitch he saw from John Axford in the ninth inning, rallying the Chicago White Sox over the Cleveland Indians 4-3 on a rainy Sunday.

    April 13, 2014

  • Masters Watson Watson surges to Masters lead following birdie spree

    Bubba Watson won the Masters two years ago with his brand of “Bubba golf,” producing shots of raw skill and wild imagination. His strategy now is to keep it simple, and he is halfway to another green jacket.

    April 11, 2014 1 Photo

Sports Scoreboard
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
Business Marquee
AP Video
Poll

Is simplifying the U.S. tax code the best way to boost the economy? The code today is 73,608 pages and it grows every year. Which one of these suggestions seems like the best solution:

Make a progressive tax rate that’s a simple 6 percent for everyone.
End tax breaks for the “1 percent.”
It’s not as simple as one change — many things have to happen.
     View Results
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Stocks