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A Steeler Nation:Road Blog

October 12, 2007

Jim Wexell is out on the road researching football stories – Steelers football stories – for a book he’s writing on Steelers Nation. Wexell checks in from time to time, or whenever he can find that rare combination of time and internet access. Here’s his latest report:Brett Keisel

FRIDAY, OCT. 12

The first thing you notice about Greybull, Wyoming, – I mean, after you pass the deer and the antelope and the wild mustangs out on the range – is the 30 mile-per-hour speed limit on the main thoroughfare.

Running a bit late, the pace was maddening – at first -- but then you learn to like it, even love it. It seemed like time was standing still. This is certainly a quaint, quiet, peaceful town. And it’s about what you’d expect in that this town of 1,900 has one stoplight, a bar that beckons to hunters, and several Western-style clothiers. The people are what you’d expect, too, particularly if you know Brett Keisel.

Keisel of course is Greybull’s most famous son. He’s a budding NFL superstar for the Pittsburgh Steelers and he’s even a better person. When you talk to Brett you forget you’re talking to an NFL player because he’s so down-to-earth. That also describes his family and friends in Greybull.

I met with Brett’s teachers, coaches, friends and in-laws. Brett met his future bride Sarah when he was in fourth grade and everyone in town except them knew they’d end up getting married. Sarah’s mom, Patty Johnson, set my itinerary at the start of the day, and it ended at dinner with her and her husband Steve. I was so comfortable around the pony-tailed Steve that I actually asked if he were an old hippie.

“Right on,” he said with a laugh.

The dinner with those two, along with Brett’s buddy -- high-school quarterback Michael McGuire -- was so comfortable that I probably crossed “inner circle” lines at various points. Like talking to Brett, I felt I had known all of them for years.

McGuire, who now coaches the rival school district’s football team, complimented me and our staff for the job being done at SteelCityInsider.com. I complimented him on his taste in NFL ballcaps. He, of course, is a Steelers fan, but it wasn’t so easy for this former Broncos fanatic. But now, he said, after getting a taste of Steelers Nation, he would have a hard time going back, even if Brett somehow ended up a Bronco. The food was good and the company even better. The stories lasted for three hours and the night ended with pictures, handshakes, and of and of course a peace sign from an “old hippie.”