Brett Keisel's role still evolving on Steelers

September, 3, 2014
9/03/14
8:00
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PITTSBURGH – The question centered on Antonio Brown’s role -- and specifically whether the Pro Bowl wide receiver would continue to pull double duty this season.

Keisel
Keisel
Mike Tomlin said he wouldn’t let the fear of an injury to one of the Pittsburgh Steelers' most valuable players stop him from using Brown as a punt returner, where he also earned Pro Bowl honors last season.

Tomlin then referenced the depth chart where Brown is listed ahead of rookie Dri Archer at punt returner.

So what, then, to read into the Steelers’ depth chart at defensive end? Apparently not much with Brett Keisel’s role still undetermined.

Keisel, who re-signed with the Steelers two weeks ago, is listed as the second-team right defensive end behind Cam Thomas. Cameron Heyward, meanwhile, is the starter at left defensive end, with rookie Stephon Tuitt behind him.

Heyward played at right defensive end throughout offseason practices and the preseason, and Tomlin said the fourth-year veteran won’t necessarily move to accommodate Keisel.

“[Keisel] might be the pliable guy,” Tomlin said. “I think those are things we are still sorting out.”

Keisel has started the last eight seasons at right defensive end, but Tomlin and his staff are still trying to figure out the best way to utilize “Da Beard.”

He could end up backing up Heyward at right defensive end and playing in a rotation on the left side with Thomas and Tuitt. What seems clear is that the roles at defensive end won’t be clearly defined in the foreseeable future.

“I still think we’re just getting a sense of what Brett is capable of from a snap standpoint,” Tomlin said. “That will have a lot to do with his utilization in the game along with the performance of others. He’s going to be an asset to us. I look forward to continuing to watch him round into form.”

Scott Brown

ESPN Pittsburgh Steelers reporter

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