Da Beard Is Back

Brett Keisel thought he was going to Arizona until the Steelers called. And Keisel agreed to remain in Pittsburgh.

The Beard lives.

In Pittsburgh.

Brett Keisel yesterday agreed to a deal that will keep the soon-to-be 36-year-old defensive end with the Steelers.

"There's no place like home," Keisel tweeted on Tuesday night, followed by: "I am very excited to finish what I started in 2002 with the Steelers. Time to get to work!!"

Keisel was a seventh-round draft pick in 2002 and ascended to the starting right defensive end job in 2006. He missed only 18 starts in holding the job for eight seasons.

Last season, Keisel started 12 games and was third on the team with 26 quarterback pressures and fourth with four sacks.

For his career, Keisel has 399 tackles, 32 passes defensed, 29 sacks, seven forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries, one interception and one touchdown.

And of course two rings. Keisel re-joins the five other Steelers who were members of all three recent Super Bowl teams: Troy Polamalu, Ike Taylor, Ben Roethlisberger, Heath Miller and Greg Warren.

New starter Cam Thomas has played well in two preseason games, so it's unlikely that Keisel will start the opener. He'll likely work his way back into football shape as Thomas starts at left defensive end and Cameron Heyward starts at Keisel's old spot.

Of course, Mike Tomlin may be planning to demote Thomas, move Heyward, and start Keisel.

Either way, Keisel will be part of a rotation that will also include rookie second-round pick Stephon Tuitt, whom Keisel will no doubt mentor. Tuitt is a 21-year-old blue-chipper with a great work ethic and an appetite for knowledge, and Keisel will provide it.

The Steelers had been lacking depth because undrafted rookie Josh Mauro isn't quite ready, but has most likely shown too much to risk passing waivers and making it back to the practice squad. So Mauro could, in theory, add to both his football knowledge and beard length with Keisel's help.

NOTES -- Right tackle Marcus Gilbert, 26, has shown improvement under new line coach Mike Munchak and was rewarded with a new six-year contract for a reported $30 million that could keep him with the team through the 2019 season. ... Injured long-snapper Greg Warren was heartened to hear from two teammates who underwent the same surgery on their meniscus that Warren underwent Aug. 15, and they played again in 10 and 14 days. Warren had been told he'll require four weeks after his surgery. ... Tomlin ruled out Warren, TE Eric Waters, CB Shaq Richardson, C Cody Wallace, and LB Jordan Zumwalt of the game Thursday in Philadelphia.

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