Steelers: Why We Hate to See Brett Keisel Released


The Steelers released fan-favorite Brett Keisel on Monday and there was a mix of surprise, anger, regret, resignation, and head shaking across social media.

I am a Brett Keisel fan. I love what he is about on the field and off the field. I think Steeler Nation hates to see anyone who has been part of a championship team depart.

However, we have to acknowledge the business side of football and what the collective bargaining agreement, in my opinion, has brought about. It has brought about the need for decisions that often cannot lean toward allowing veterans a dignified exit.

The frenzy to get the “numbers” under the salary cap often leads to seemingly ungracious “releases” that no amount of press statements thanking the veteran can sooth.

Keisel’s release stings for multiple reasons:

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  • We will miss his on-the-field passion. If you look up his stats, they don’t tell the whole story.  He is credited with 254 tackles, 154 assists, and 30 sacks over 156 games.  The numbers declined over the last few years, but his passion and attitude NEVER have.  He’s a special player, no doubt.
  • Rookies can learn a lot from his off-the-field work. Lots of football players do charitable works. However, Keisel seems to have a special knack for it. Check out this video of a recent fishing trip.
  • Keisel’s commitment is legendary.  Some football players grow facial hair and superstitions take over if the wins keep coming:  “I’m not gonna shave as long as we’re winning.”  NOT always pretty.  Keisel’s beard, originally a fundraiser, “grew” into so much more and signaled toughness and commitment. The “Shear Da Beard” events may still happen, but I will miss seeing that beard under a face mask.

Seeing Keisel released, along with LeBeau’s departure and several other impending departures, signals an ending era.

I hate to see Keisel go because, to me, there is no “heir apparent.” I don’t know about the rest of Steeler Nation, but I want to see that kind of passion, dedication, and commitment from future players and sometimes I feel like without the veterans there to influence the rookies, the good things from those veterans could be lost.

Realistically, that’s not how it works.  It may take some time, but the new stand-outs emerge once the veteran shadow is gone.  Right now it isn’t obvious to me who will take on the leadership roles.  I would put my marker on Lawrence Timmons, but they need a few more leaders on the defense.

I don’t think the Steelers should have kept Keisel on the roster, but I have to echo what Kim Myers said a week ago or so:  I wish there was a different way to say goodbye to the veterans who have given so much to the team and that Steeler Nation cherish. This part of the business stinks.

Brett Keisel:  You’re a class act and Steeler Nation will miss you on the field.  One a Steeler, ALWAYS a Steeler! We wish you the best.

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