As a football player, Brett Keisel's career is one worthy of lasting remembrance in Pittsburgh. Along with that, his charity work has been outstanding - the act of cutting his beard raised over $50,000 for Children's Hospital in Pittsburgh.
If this is the last hurrah for Da Beard, he'll be missed as a player and as a man.
It doesn't have to be, though. The door won't be closed on Keisel, although he's unlikely to be signed by the Steelers before free agency starts. He's earned the right to see if a team will pay him more than the Steelers' likely minimum non-guaranteed contract offer, assuming they'd even make one.
It's similar to the situation of the man he replaced - Kimo Von Oelhoffen. Keisel had proved enough as a player to earn a starting role, and with Von Oelhoffen reaching a higher level of minimum salary, it was obvious he wouldn't return in 2006.
Von Oelhoffen mentioned some regret about signing with another team (the Jets) instead of the Steelers at the end of his career. It seems logical Keisel would have similar thoughts if he does decide to cash in on another year in the NFL. And understandably so.
He's mentioned he wants to stay in Pittsburgh after his career ends, so in the event Da Beard leaves for another year or two, at least he'll be back eventually. Maybe not as a Steelers player, but always as a member of Steeler Nation.
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