Have Steelers Fans Seen Last of Brett Keisel?


Nov 17, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel (99) celebrates at the end of the game against the Tennessee Titans at LP Field. The Steelers defeated the Titans 27-24. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers placed Brett Keisel on IR on Monday, which effectively ends his season.  Question is, is this the last we will have seen of The Beard on the field in a Steelers uniform?

Seems like not so long ago we were asking that question.  In fact, we were.  Keisel was left sitting on his coach and by the phone for months during the offseason.  There were many speculations from the media and fans about his return.  The window of opportunity became smaller and smaller and smaller as the calendar marched through all the mini-camps and training camp in August.  Keisel was on a plane to the Cardinals when a call came in from the Steelers front office with an offer.  Keisel took it, and was back on the field.

Keisel wasn’t going to be a utility guy, however.  His age and fall off of production over the last season or two said otherwise, but he played like a man possessed and determined.  He was the starter from Week 1, and he played like he was in his early 30’s all over again.  The Beard was and has been all season one of the few bright spot amongst a defense that has been nothing short of an embarrassment practically all season long.  Now, he’s out for the season, and could be done for his career.

It was a tough sight to see on the tv screen – Keisel pacing the sidelines, shaking his left arm out, looking down, and shaking his head.  Dejan Kovacevic noted in one of his columns that he saw Keisel stare off into the sky with a gaze in his eye.  Keisel for sure knew something was seriously wrong.  But, I don’t think that look was a look of finality for the last four games.

That look, if described accurately through DK’s poetics, was a look of finality of a career.

It would take nothing short of a miracle for Keisel to come back from an injury like this?  How so?  Past precedence.  Remember Aaron Smith?  You know, a guy lineman better than Keisel, who back in 2010 suffered the same type of injury and ended up writing a full page column/add in the PPG thanking the city of Pittsburgh and Steeler Nation for being such great fans.

I believe without a doubt that we will be seeing a very similar full page in the PPG come February.  And that’s just a damn shame.

Keisel hasn’t always been a favorite among those who are hard to please and quick to criticize this defense.  I remember seeing numerous Tweets, comments, and posts about how awful it was that the Steelers had to bring back The (Gray) Beard for a two year contract.  So glad he was able to shut up those critics.  The man is a class act on and off the field.  He earned that last chance he got back in August, and took full advantage of it up until that tricep tear.

It will be sad to see him go this way.  You always want those “favorites” and true Steelers to go out on top.  On their own terms.  But, thus is the way of things in the NFL.  Doesn’t mean I like it, but it’s just the way it is.  When The Beard finally decides that it’s time to hang’em up, I hope that the Steelers give him his due with a big press conference announcing his retirement as a Steeler.  None of this waiting by the phone bull they pulled on him this past off season.

Do I hope Keisel returns?  I would rather someone young like Stephon Tuitt finally hold down the position.  It’s time that the youth movement continue throughout the defense.  But, if he does, I would welcome him with open arms as a backup and mentor.