From Adam Ripple, DailyAmerican.com:
Brett Keisel was a part of arguably the best defenses in the mid-2000s with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Keisel, a two-time Super Bowl champion and 13-year NFL veteran, will be the keynote speaker at the inaugural Daily American Sports Achievement Awards Banquet. The event will be held May 17th at the Oakhurst Tea Room.
Keisel is looking forward to the opportunity to speak to these talented athletes.
“I am incredibly honored,” Keisel said. “I am humbled that they think enough of me to come down there and hopefully spread a little knowledge on these young people’s lives.”
Youth sports have the potential to play a significant role in personal growth and development. The athletes being recognized for their achievements compete day in and day out in the classrooms and on the playing fields.
“I tell kids all the time that one of the things that made me who I am is that I tried to play as many sports as possible,” Keisel said. “I know in today’s day and age that it is tough. A lot of coaches want their kids year-round in one sport. I encourage kids to play as many sports as they can. If you are a great wrestler, that is going to make you a better football player. If you are a good basketball player, that is going to make you a better football player or swimmer. All the sports go together and have different tangible things that help you become a better person.”
Keisel lettered in football, basketball and track while attending Greybull High School in Wyoming. He took advantage of the opportunities presented to him.
“The school I grew up in, if you went out for the team, you were on the team,” Keisel said. “There were no cuts. Some of these kids need to take advantage of that. Being part of a team and learning discipline and learning to be accountable; all these wonderful lessons are taught in sports. This is why physical education and athletics are so crucial. You learn so much from it and can translate it in life.”
In an era where many kids are becoming more focused on electronics rather than physical activity, Keisel is promoting the Play 60 movement.
“It is beneficial,” he said. “I have three kids that are eight, five and three and I notice a difference in them if it’s a gloomy day and they are not able to get outside and play. They get crabby, argumentative and a little crazy. They probably get that from me because I am the same way. I find that if I spend time outside that not only do I think clearer but I feel that my overall outlook is better. Kids are the same way and need to find time to get outside.”
Keisel, a seventh round draft pick of the Steelers in 2002, knows the value of hard work. He is one of only 12 players in team history to record 30 sacks during the regular season. Keisel was also named the Steelers’ Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2011 for his work on and off the field. Keisel feels that anyone can achieve their goals in sports and in life.
“Set dreams, set realistic dreams and be accountable to yourself to go and make those things happen,” Keisel said. “Most of these kids that are successful in athletics already have a lot of those values because of the things they are taught through sports. Carrying that into college and their professional lives, the lessons learned can be rolled over into your everyday lives.”
Looking back, Keisel recognizes how much the game of football has given him.
“The relationships, values, people you meet, atmospheres you get put in and the mental and physical battle you go through on a daily basis to try and remain at the top of your craft are some things that made me who I am,” Keisel said. “It made all of us who were able to be a part of that success who we are. Going through all of those championships and first place defenses was a special time with a special group of guys. I will never, ever lose sight of that and the reasons we were successful.”
Keisel on 2016 Steelers
The 2016 Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the early Super Bowl favorites according to odds makers. With a talented, quick-strike offense along with a skilled defense, the Steelers will look to capture their seventh Lombardi Trophy.
Keisel believes his former team has what it takes to compete for a championship.
“The potential is there,” Keisel said. “They are a very high-powered offense. That offensive line has really come together. They are getting to be that older, veteran group that the team relies on to have consistent play. The defense is packed with great, young talent. There is young talent all over the place.”
Keisel received insight from Steelers defensive end Cam Heyward on how Pittsburgh faired in the draft.
“They paid attention to defense,” Keisel said. “All the core pieces are there. They’ve got to come together as one, hold themselves accountable and come to work every day with that chip on their shoulder. If you want to be world champs, you’ve got to put in the time and effort. I think they understand that their potential is there and it is up to them to go make it happen.”
Keisel watching AB
Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown is looking to become the second Black and Gold player to win the Mirror Ball Trophy on Dancing With The Stars. Hines Ward and Kym Johnson claimed the trophy in 2011. Keisel is keeping an eye on Brown and partner Sharna Burgess.
“I’ve been watching him shake it a little,” Keisel said. “He is an entertainer. AB is a great young talent and I think it is fun what he is doing. Obviously, the fans love it and he is putting in the work too. That’s not an easy gig to go out there and not only dance but make sure you are getting ready for the football season. If anyone can do it, AB can.”
Keisel concluded: “I am excited to come to Somerset. I think it is one of the most beautiful places in Pennsylvania. In the limited time I have had interacting with the folks around there, they have made me feel like I am right back in Wyoming with some good old country living. I feel right at home and I appreciate that from them.”