TEAM: Pittsburgh Steelers
Brett Keisel attended Greybull High School in Wyoming. He was a four-year letter winner in football and basketball. He also lettered twice in track. Brett was a four-time All-Conference selection and earned All-State honors playing tight end and linebacker. Some of his high school awards include winning Wyoming Player of the Year from USA Today, Sportslink Player of the Year, and Conference Player of the year.
Keisel was red shirted his freshman year at BYU. He played defensive end his sophomore year and then the following year transferred to Snow College. He then returned to BYU to finish his college football career. Keisel had a total of 66 tackles, with 39 being solo tackles, 9 quarterback sacks, and 19 stops behind the line of scrimmage. Keisel racked up more athletic awards during college. He was a Super Team Selection (The NFL Draft Report),and he received All-Mountain West Conference Honorable Mention.
Brett was drafted in 2002 by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Steelers fans took notice as he made 7 solo special teams tackles. He also recovered a fumble on a punt, which led to a Steelers TD. Since then he continued to excel for the Steelers. He missed one season due to an injury, but came back the next year playing both on both defense and special teams. He continues to play RDE and is a big part of the Steelers defensive attack.
Follow Brett’s stats : NFL.com
Keisel was recently selected as an inductee into the 2007 class of the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame, as athlete of the year for football.
All of this information was obtained through the Pittsburgh Steelers official website, the BYU athletic website, and the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame website.
A glimpse at Brett’s career with the Steelers:
Brett Keisel was drafted by the Steelers in 2002 during the seventh-round. He played as a special teams player and, in five games and two postseason games, finished with seven solo special teams tackles. One highlight of Brett’s first year came in the Carolina game. He recovered a fumble on a punt that led to a Steelers touchdown, and also had three solo special teams tackles.
In 2003, Keisel was placed on injured reserve and missed the season.
Brett returned to the field in 2004, and continued his special teams play, but he also was getting some time on the field with the defense. Keisel has talked about watching how defensive end Aaron Smith played, in order to learn the position he would later start at for the Steelers.
2005 would prove to be a big year for Brett. He continued to be a special teams player and was also listed as a reserve defensive end. In the Baltimore game, he made one of the biggest plays of the game when he sacked quarterback Anthony Wright on third down on the Ravens’ final drive. It was Keisel’s first NFL career sack. In a game against the Bengals, Brett returned one kickoff for 11 yards. Another first for #99 came during a game against Cleveland. Brett had a two-sack game, and a forced fumble. He was making his presence known both to his coaches and opposing players. Brett saved one of his best games for the AFC Championship game in Denver. He picked a great place to do this, not only was it the last hurdle the team needed to leap before reaching the Superbowl, but Keisel had his own cheering section there. His parents, Connie and Lane Keisel, along with about 15 other family members and friends were in attendance to cheer him and his team on to victory. And Brett certainly gave them reason to cheer!
During the AFC Championship game, Keisel was a beast on the field. He compiled four solo tackles, including two sacks. The sacks totaled a loss of ten yards for Denver. Brett also had one forced fumble during the game.
“We just thought, ‘Oh my gosh, that was Brett, he did it again!’ What a game for him to shine in,” Connie Keisel said. (From an interview with Scott Allen, Star Tribune). Click here to read the whole story.
In the Hard Hat award article written Jan. 24, following the Steeler win over the Broncos, the sports writer said, “.. backup DE and special teamer Brett Keisel had a gritty effort in the win. He provided good relief to Smith and twice stormed into the Bronco backfield to hit or disrupt Plummer. On one play he simply bulled and shoved LT Matt Lepsis back into the quarterback, something no one else on the right side of the defense was able to do, and then pulled him down with one hand for the sack. Keisel also chipped in with some tough coverage on special teams. “
The sacks and forced fumble were firsts for him during the postseason. Keisel had many firsts during his 2005 season, but the biggest first was yet to come. The win in the AFC Championship game earned Keisel and the Steelers a spot in Superbowl XL in Detroit.
The Steelers were headed to the Superbowl to take on the Seattle Seahawks. The players had to get ticket orders and travel arrangements in place for their family and friends. Brett, coming from a large and very close family, had a lot of work to do in order to get all the arrangements completed. His parents headed to Detroit, along with two of Brett’s brothers, three of his sisters, Brett’s wife (Sarah) and her parents and brother. Once travel arrangements were finalized Keisel would begin game preparation for his first Superbowl.
In an interview with Marlys Good, Greybull Standard News, Brett talked about what it felt like to be heading to his first SB appearance: “To be able to play in the biggest game in the world – everyone is watching you – is a dream come true. It still feels like I’m in a dream. “This has been an unbelievable ride.” To read the whole interview, click here.
The team headed to Detroit, where they were greeted by millions of fans. Steelers Nation always travels well, and they showed up in full force for the big game. The team was treated to a meal at the home of Jerome Bettis’ parents and had many events they were able to attend. But, Keisel didn’t mention any of that when he spoke of what he was looking forward to on Thursday of SB week. He kept a SB diary for the Tribune Review.
Mike Prisuta, printed parts of the diary and this is what Brett mentioned being excited about:
“My wife Sarah’s coming in tonight, and I’m really excited to see her. She wanted to come out Monday, but she’s a working woman, and she had a few things she had to take care of. I’m really excited to have her out here. “I’ll get to see her tonight, and then after practice is over, we can hang out tomorrow night.
In front of his wife, parents and numerous other family members and friends, Keisel won his first Superbowl. The team won 21-10 and Keisel had two solo tackles and one solo special teams tackle.
Keisel’s next big news came in March of 2006. He was signed to a new four-year contract with the Steelers. The seventh-round draft pick had moved from a special teams and reserve DE to a starting position with the Steelers.
From an interview with Dale Lolley, Steelcityinsider.com:
”When (Steelers negotiator) Omar (Khan) called me and we got on a conference call and we all came to agreement on this thing, I hung up the phone and I was just like, ‘Man, I can’t believe it. This is what I worked so hard for, just to get this opportunity. Now it’s time to get to work and prove it.’”
In 2006, Keisel started all 16 games in his first season as a starter. He finished with 58 tackles, with 37 of those being solo tackles. He posted 5.5 sacks and had one fumble recovery. It was apparent that Keisel was a perfect fit in his starting position at DE. He said he wanted to prove he would work hard for this opportunity and he did just that!
Keisel kept up the hard work and during the 2007 season he started all 16 games at DE for the second consecutive season (32 straight starts). Brett finished the season with 49 tackles and two sacks. He was the team leader in QB pressures with 31 and had a forced fumble.
Also in 2007, Keisel received an award from his hometown. He was the Wyoming Sports Hall of Fame’s athlete of the year. To read about this honor, click here.
In 2008, Keisel started the season as a new father. Tribune-Review writer, Scott Brown, in his column, View from the Press Box, reported that Brett, and his wife Sarah, welcomed to their family a baby boy. Brown wrote, “Defensive end Brett Keisel is a daddy.The glow on Keisel’s face when he talked about his son, who was born in March, is all you need to see to conclude that fatherhood agrees with him.”
Brett talks about fatherhood with Scott Brown::
“It made me realize how important my job is, to not only myself but to my family. It just made me work that much harder to be that much better of a player.”
Keisel had a couple injuries which caused him to miss some playing time, but he still finished the season with 34 tackles, 24 being solo and one sack. He had a big game against the Giants, with 11 tackles to tie James Farrior for the team lead, and he also had two of the Steelers’ four tackles for loss. He was named the Steelers Digest Player of the Week after his performance.
Keisel and the Steelers defense were ranked #1 throughout 2008.
After rolling through the postseason with victories over San Diego and Baltimore, Brett was headed to his second Superbowl. He finished the postseason with 12 tackles (eight solo) and one sack. The team would face the Arizona Cardinals in Superbowl XLIII.
Keisel’s family and friends were there to cheer him on, along with his son who would have the opportunity to see his father win a Superbowl. Brett once again had a great game, with five tackles (four solo), one QB pressure and a fumble recovery which sealed the win for the Steelers!
Brett’s current contract was due to expire after the 2009 season. But, the Steelers organization were aware of how fortunate they were to have #99, and they realized what a valuable asset he was to the team. So, on August 31, 2009 he was awarded a new contract that will keep him with the team through 2013.
From Mr. Keisel:
“I am extremely happy for a lot of reasons- One I have the opportunity to play my entire career with one team. Two, this team, I can’t say enough about how I feel about it. I genuinely love and appreciate the players I play with and have gotten a great relationship with the players too. To be able to stay here and be a part of hopefully more Super Bowls was a dream of mine and it’s surreal that it’s going to happen.”
The above information obviously does not include all of Brett’s accomplishments with the team. It is just a brief highlight of his time with the Steelers. Check out the articles and news here on the site for a more in-depth look at his career so far. You can also read about his college career.
Brett has accomplished so much in his career, including two Superbowl victories. He came to the Steelers as a seventh-round draft pick, and worked his way from special teams player and reserve defensive end, to starting defensive end through dedication and hard work. With his new contract there will be more accomplishments and victories to look forward to for Brett!
The news was compiled from various sources. Most of the statistical information came from Steelers.com.
Brett has represented the Steelers well throughout his career, on and off the field. He and his wife sponsor many charitable events and attend other events for causes supported by his teammates. News of their causes and charities is listed throughout the site.