The Steelers have released veteran defensive end, Brett Keisel, the team announced today.
“We have informed Brett Keisel that we plan to release him today,” Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said. “We have had conversations with Brett over the past couple of weeks during which we communicated our intentions to him. Brett has played a major role in our success during his 13 years in Pittsburgh. We appreciate his efforts and we are grateful for what he helped us accomplish, including two Super Bowl Championships. We will always consider him an all-time Pittsburgh Steeler.”
Keisel played 13 seasons for the team (2002-2014) after originally being selected in the seventh round (242nd overall) pick of the 2002 NFL Draft by the Steelers. He saw action in 156 games with 114 starts during the regular season, and he played in 16 games with eight starts during the postseason.
His career regular-season totals include 30.0 sacks, 36 pass breakups, seven forced fumbles, seven fumble recoveries and two interceptions, one of which was returned 79 yards for a touchdown. Keisel also excelled on special teams early in his career, recording 33 tackles and two fumble recoveries in the regular season. His postseason numbers include 3.0 sacks, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
Keisel is just one of 12 players in team history to record at least 30.0 sacks during the regular season (since sacks became an official statistic in 1982). And his 36 career pass breakups were the third-most among active defensive ends at the conclusion of the 2014 regular season.
In 2014, Keisel saw action in 12 games with four starts before suffering a tricep injury. He was placed on the team’s Reserve/Injured List on December 1, 2014, ending his 2014 campaign.
Keisel is a two-time Super Bowl Champion (XL and XLIII), and he was named the Steelers’ Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2011 for his efforts on and off the field. He was also named to his first Pro Bowl after the 2010 season and was named an alternate after the 2011 season. Keisel also was a co-recipient of the 2006 Pro Football Writers’ “The Chief Award,” which was established in honor of the Steelers’ founder, Arthur J. Rooney, Sr., and is presented annually to the Steeler that best exemplifies the spirit of cooperation with the media.
The Steelers have tendered offers to three restricted free agents, cornerback Antwon Blake, safety Robert Golden and fullback Will Johnson.
Blake has played in 46 career games during the regular season with one start. In 2014, he registered his first career interception, forced fumble and fumble recovery. Blake was claimed by the Steelers off waivers (from Jacksonville) on September 2, 2013.
In 2014, Golden was named a special teams captain, and he has totaled 27 special teams tackles in his three seasons with the team. Golden originally signed with Pittsburgh as an undrafted rookie free agent on April 28, 2012.
Johnson has appeared in 47 games during the regular season with 17 starts. His career totals include 29 receptions for 219 yards with two receiving touchdowns. Johnson was signed to the Steelers’ offseason roster on March 21, 2012.
By tendering the offers to the three players, the Steelers reserve the right to retain the players by matching any offer sheets they would sign with another team. All three players could also remain with the Steelers by signing their tender offer for the 2015 season or by signing a long-term contract with the team.