Q&A: Brett Keisel

Brett Keisel talked to a group of Pittsburgh reporters in the locker room this weekend. We'll have more Xs and Os talk from Brett later today.

Brett Keisel, DE, Pittsburgh Steelers

BK: Who's first? No one? You just want me to make an opening statement? All right. It's great to be back here in the locker room. It's great to be around my teammates. It's great to just come to work. I enjoy the drive to work from my house. Go through the city and see the sites and know that I have work to do is a great feeling.

Q: How often over the years have you seen Troy Polamalu on the sideline as animated and upset as he was last game? Is that normal for him?

BK: No. Troy was upset and he spoke his mind. And as a leader on this team, that's what we like to see from Troy. I like to see him fired up and emotional. Guys need to know that this is an emotional game, and when you step out there in stadiums, that's how you have to play. You have to play with energy. You have to play with emotion. If you don't, you're going to be flat and, as a defense, you're going to get the ball moved on you. You've got to play with energy.

Q: Did you gain perspective from just sitting and watching?

BK: Well, that's what I wanted to do. I wanted to see who was going to say things and who was going to talk and who was going to stand up. So, it was good, and I wanted to see what some of the young guys were capable of, how they responded after a drive, or anything like that. We've got work to do.

Q: You're thrust into that leadership role. Is this a critical time for this team?

BK: I don't know. I had confidence in the guys who were here before they brought me back. I really did. There are a lot of great leaders in here, so I'm just going to help where I can, and do some yelling where I can, and try and get everyone on the same page.

Q: How much do you want to help shore up that run defense?

BK: Well, obviously we've been good for a long time around here against the run. That's what you have to stop first and foremost. We've always talked about that. If you can't shut down the run you're going to have a long day. Hopefully I can help any way I can.

Q: Do players take the statistics personally?

BK: You have to have pride in what you do. You have to have pride in yourself as a defense and pride in yourself as a front. There's a long line of great defenses around here that have been able to be great because of the way they've smashed the run. That's a huge part of being successful.

Q: How much training did you do?

BK: About every day. I really tried to make sure I was ready if my number was called, and so I was getting after it. But it's a lot different going against my shadow than a 350-pound guard or 350 -pound tackle. Those are the things I really couldn't simulate. My wife's only a hundred pounds (laughs). She wasn't pushing on me too much. Those are the things I'm looking forward to, getting out and leaning on people again.

Q: Do you mean getting in football shape?

BK: Yeah, just getting out there and playing, the stop and go, the change of direction, stuff like that. There are certain things you can train, but, really, until you play the game you're not going to be in the type of shape that you need to be to be a good, consistent player. I've got a week or so to get there and I look forward to doing that.

Q: Is there enough time?

BK: I think so. As far as cardio and strength, I feel good. It's just getting back to my technique, making sure I'm playing with good pad level, using my hands right, the type of things that make you a good defensive lineman.

Q: Would you like to get a lot of snaps Thursday night?

BK: I'd like to get some, but that's up to coach. I'd like to just get a padded practice first and go from there.

Q: What's going to be your role?

BK: I haven't been told a role, no. I'm going to go out there and plan on playing. Whether that's starting or wherever they want me. I'm going to earn my role on this team, and where that is has yet to be determined.

Q: What was it like not knowing about your future?

BK: The unknown is hard. There were times I was like, 'Well, I don't know what's going to happen. It might be over for me.' But there were also a lot of times when I felt like, 'I still can play and something's going to happen.' That's what kept me focused, more of the positive stuff instead of the negative. That's why I think I'm right here today.

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