Brett Keisel has played in one Pro Bowl and in three Super Bowls on the defensive line while hoisting the Lombardi Trophy twice. He was selected by the Pittsburgh Steelers with the No. 242 overall pick in the 2002 NFL Draft. Keisel has spent 12 years with the Steelers, but he plans to continue his longtime career by testing the free agent market this offseason. He could possibly land with the Detroit Lions.
In an interview with Matt Dery on WMGC-FM (105.1), Keisel said that he is all about Detroit and one of his favorite people is Larry Foote who grew up in Detroit.
“They’ve got a great team,” Keisel said. “I really like their quarterback. They got Megatron. Who wouldn’t want to play with those guys? Those guys, I think, are going to make some noise next year.”
Keisel missed four games last season due to plantar fasciitis. Despite the injury, Keisel still compiled 29 tackles and four sacks to add on to a career total of 276 tackles, 26 sacks and seven forced fumbles.
The 35-year old went on to say how tough the Lions’ defensive line is, and he also praised rookie Ezekiel Ansah on his performance last season.
“I appreciate what they’re doing,” Keisel said on 105.1 FM. “Obviously, they’ve got a tough defensive line. I went to BYU, so I’m proud of my boy Ziggy (Ansah) coming in as a rookie and being a key contributor on that defense. Really, it’s amazing where he came from and the way he’s playing.”
Bringing in a defensive lineman with 12 years of experience in the NFL would add a veteran presence in the locker room for a young but talented defensive line. The Lions brought in free agent Jason Jones last offseason, but he went down in the Washington Redskins game with a ruptured patellar tendon in his left knee and missed 13 games. Willie Young, who is now a free agent, filled the void left by Jones, finishing the season with a career high in tackles (47) and fumble recoveries (2).
The 6-foot-5, 285-pound lineman will also bring in a winning mentality to an organization that experienced a second half collapse in 2013 after starting off, 6-3 overall. Detroit will also be likely to sign Keisel to a cheaper contract that won’t hurt the Lions salary cap much, considering that Ndamukong Suh is looking to be the highest paid defensive tackle in the league this offseason.
The downside to Keisel is that the Lions would be adding a player with little left in the tank. Detroit already experimented with former Tennessee Titans Al-Pro Kyle Vanden Bosch on a four-year, $26 million contract, and he was eventually released by the team after the 2012 season.
Keisel would have to adapt to the Lions’ 4-3 defensive front after playing the 3-4 scheme with the Steelers. But with head coach Jim Caldwell‘s experience with outside pass rushers during his tenure with the Indianapolis Colts, Keisel will have no problem molding into a new role with the Lions.