Pittsburgh Steelers Not Shutting Door On Keisel Or Harrision… Yet.
Sep 16, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker James Harrison (92) arrives prior to the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
Excuse me while I look for a huge stick to beat this enormous clydesdale with…. (note: I do not condone beating ANY animal… dead or alive)
It’s been talked about ad nauseam all off season – Should and will the Pittsburgh Steelers sign Brett Keisel? Should and will the Steelers sign James Harrison?
The common agreement from most of Steeler Nation is yes, but only if for the right price. According to Bob Labriola on Twitter, Colbert is keeping both the door open for both men.
Based on the first few days of camp, the Steelers are enjoying the revamped defense with it’s youth and speed. Cam Heyward has been moved to the right side of the line, and he’s taken all the first team reps thus far – this very well could be a permanent move for him. The left side is still up in the air, and the Steelers will more than likely take their time in assessing that situation. Tweets came out over the weekend that first team reps were split by Cam Thomas, Stephon Tuitt, and Brian Arnfelt (typically a righty). The readiness of the rookie Tuitt and the consistency and readiness of Thomas are the question marks on the left side. Depth has to be a concern here. Enter Brett Keisel, the intense and much beloved 11 year vet.
Jul 26, 2014; Latrobe, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (wearing 99) participates in drills during training camp at Saint Vincent College. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Steelers quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, as he seems to do every year, made a statement of solidarity with his suite mate, teammate, and long time friend. As Big Ben made his way to the practice field on Day 1, he wore a bright yellow #99 jersey – Keisel’s number. Ben has done this in the past, most notably for Max Starks. He wore Starks’ jersey last season, but Starks never rejoined the team. Will Ben have better luck with Keisel this season? There is question as to whether the 11 year vet Keisel would take away valuable snaps away from Tuitt. I don’t really see that happening. If Keisel is brought back, it will be for depth only, and the Steelers will stick with their young rookie…. as long as he’s effective.
James Harrison is also waiting for his phone to ring. The OLB position is young but carries with it so much potential. It also lacks any depth. If Jarvis Jones has a sophomore slump or if Worilds should have a case of the no long term deal blues, it’s tough to find solid playmakers behind them.
Harrison is hungry to come back, and has shown numerous photos and videos on Twitter/Instagram of his workouts. As with Keisel, at the vet minimum, he would be a very valuable backup and insurance policy. Older and slower than the guys currently there? Absolutely, but he still has gas left in the tank, is hungry to play, and probably still has a few vicious hits to tally before he hangs the cleats.
This season, out of any in the next couple of years would be prime to bring on some older vets such as these two to help add depth, stability, and mentoring for a younger defense.
I’m glad Colbert has publicly stated that the door is not shut yet on these two. And, I would not question either or both signings if they happen partway through camp.