The Pittsburgh Steelers placed defensive end Brett Keisel on season-ending injured reserve on Dec. 1. Keisel suffered a triceps injury during the Steeler's 35-32 loss to the visiting New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
Pittsburgh Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel is out for the rest of the 2014 NFL season.
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In a press release the Steelers released on their official website on Dec. 1, they placed Keisel on season-ending injured reserve due to a triceps injury he sustatined during the 35-32 Week 13 loss to the visiting New Orleans Saints on Sunday.
With Keisel out, Pittsburgh wasted no time in signing defensive end Clifton Geathers, a five-year NFL veteran who has played in a total of 37 games for the Miami Dolphins, Dallas Cowboys, Indianapolis Colts, Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, the press release notes.
ESPN's Scott Brown points out the Geathers signing was a result of Pittsburgh losing two other defensive end prospects in Josh Mauro and Nick Williams. Both were with the Steelers' practice squad this season before the former signed with the Arizona Cardinals while the latter signed with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Brown also says Keisel's career with the Steelers could potentially come to an end. Pittsburgh "could move forward without him," says Brown -- a situation the team has come to grips with before dangling a contract to him four months ago. He is signed through the 2015 season on a two-year, $3 million deal with $500,000 in guaranteed money.
Brown foresees rookie defensive tackle Stephon Tuitt seeing more playing time in Keisel's absence, especially in nickel package situations.
Ray Fittipaldo of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette spoke with several of Keisel's teammates on Sunday to get their take on his season-ending injury. Fellow defensive end Cameron Heyward declared Keisel as irreplaceable:
"We got guys who have been waiting, but it's hard to replace a guy like that. He means a lot to this team. We're going to have to rally behind a lot of other guys because you can't replace him. We have four games to show how much we care about him."
On the other hand, Steelers cornerback William Gay admired Keisel's resiliency, per Fittipaldo:
"He's a guy you can look up to and a guy that you know will fight to the end. He gave it everything he had. We want to fight for all individuals, not only ourselves, but a guy who represents the Steelers, and that's Brett Keisel. It's a tough loss, but we have to keep fighting and fight for him."
Keisel suited up in 12 games -- starting four -- this season. He finishes his 2014 season with 17 tackles, 1.0 sack and five pass breakups, per the Steelers' official website.
According to ESPN stats, the 36-year-old Keisel has spent his entire 12-year NFL career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. He has appeared in 156 career regular-season games and amassed 408 tackles, 30.0 sacks, seven forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries and two interceptions. He was an integral part of Pittsburgh's Super Bowl title teams in 2005 and 2008.
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