Brett Keisel has played seven snaps the last five games because of a foot problem, but there’s a different number on his mind.
The 35-year-old defensive end is practicing this week, knowing he likely has two games left in his Steelers career, and possibly his NFL career.
“You hate thinking about the end,” he said, via Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “You hate thinking about not being able to do it anymore. But everyone, especially if you’re an older guy, you understand the business. You can’t say that no one ever thinks about it. I have a lot of great memories and build new, fond memories every day, and that’s what’s been the best part.”
By all indications, Keisel’s about to be one of the next of a long line of long-time Steelers stars to head out, as the defense ages and replacements come in annually. He thinks he could play another year, but knows the Steelers might not necessarily give him that option.
“That’s very possible,” he said. “That’s the nature of the business we’re in, everyone’s getting younger. Whatever happens, I’m grateful for my time that I’ve been here. I’m grateful for the success we’ve had on this team.
“But I want us to go out and finish this thing strong, win these last two games and go out on a positive note.”
The plantar fasciitis that has limited him lately has kept him from having the happy ending he’d like, but he sounds like a man coming to grips with the fact that the end is inevitable.