Thursday, December 19, 2013
Dick LeBeau optimistic about Brett Keisel
By Scott Brown
PITTSBURGH -- Defensive end Brett Keisel again practiced on a limited basis, and the Pittsburgh Steelers are hopeful that he will be able to play in some sort of capacity Sunday in Green Bay.
Keisel has played in just one of the past five Steelers’ games -- and he lasted less than 10 snaps Thanksgiving night in Baltimore -- because of a recurring foot problem. Keisel, who is second on the Steelers with 23 quarterback pressures, could be nearing the end of his Steelers career.
The 12th-year veteran is in the final year of his contract, and he will have to at least take a major pay cut to return to the Steelers.
Keisel has said he will want to play beyond 2013, but that he can’t envision wearing a different uniform. His more immediate concern is trying to finish the season strong despite the plantar fasciitis that has plagued him.
“He’s been getting a little better every week, and I think he’s in a more positive frame of mind just being around him,” Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said. “I really think that he feels he’s got a real legitimate shot (of playing against the Packers). I think there’s a real chance of him playing some.”
If Keisel is unable to play against the Packers, Ziggy Hood will start at right defensive end.
Keisel was the only Steelers players who didn’t practice fully on Thursday.
Strong safety Troy Polamalu, tight end Heath Miller and wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery (shoulder) all returned to practice after missing drills on Wednesday.
Polamalu and Miller were given maintenance days for the first practice of the week.