When the words “Brett Keisel will not return due to a triceps injury” flashed across my phone I knew immediately that this was far from just a minor injury. While we don’t have a full diagnosis yet and probably won’t until Tuesday, the fact that Keisel was nowhere near his empty locker at game’s end spoke volumes.
While I want nothing more than to be optimistic about the injury, whenever you see biceps or triceps injuries they are almost always tears which mean season-ending type injuries.
I’ve been hard on Brett Keisel over the last few years. I thought his play diminished greatly and I wasn’t a big fan of bringing him back this summer but I was wrong in this case. Keisel has played pretty darn well for a 36-year old defensive lineman. Sure, he’s been beaten at times and the pressure the defense needed from him wasn’t always there but he played harder than I’ve seen him in several years.
His loss now creates a major void in an already weak locker room and an even weaker defensive line.
Free agent acquisition Cam Thomas has been a bust and Stephon Tuitt has not seen the field to the extent I thought he would as a rookie. Nose tackle Steve McLendon has been banged up leaving Cam Heyward as the only stable defensive lineman.
To make matters worse, the Steelers were very high on rookie Josh Mauro who they had on their practice squad. He was recently plucked by the Arizona Cardinals. Assuming this is it for Keisel and he goes on the injured reserve list, the Steelers become even thinner on the D-line.
The void in the locker room will be hard to miss as well. Keisel’s presence is well-known and he has the respect of almost everyone in the organization. He made a fantastic career out of being a seventh-round draft pick and became a fan favorite because of the beard which at times made me wonder if it wasn’t affecting his play the last few years.
I’m glad Keisel was able to come back and give the effort he did in 2014, I’m just sorry it had to end in this way if it is indeed the end.
Marc Uhlmann writes for and co-owns www.steelcityblitz.com. Follow him on Twitter @SteelDad and the website @SCBlitz. Check us out on Facebook at facebook.com/steelcityblitz and on Fancred.com. You can hear him weekly during the season on game day on the Trib-Live Radio Steelers Pre-Game
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