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Keisel: Contract ended uncertainty

• Entering the final year of his contract, defensive end Brett Keisel said there was some uncertainty about his future with the Steelers before signing a new five-year contract Monday. "It's hard, but its something that everyone in here kind of goes through," Keisel said. "If you're going into your last year, it's really out of your hands. You can play out the year and hope to get a good deal when it's done. Or something like this can happen, where they give you an offer. And fortunately for us, it was legitimate, and we accepted it."

• With Keisel's signing, other starters entering the final year of their contracts include nose tackle Casey Hampton, running back Willie Parker, safety Ryan Clark, tackle Willie Colon and kicker Jeff Reed.

• Linebacker Lawrence Timmons (ankle), wide receiver Santonio Holmes (back) and Parker (hamstring) didn't practice Tuesday, while rookie running back Frank Summers returned to the practice field. Timmons is out for Thursday's final preseason game at Carolina, and he could miss the Sept. 10 opener against Tennessee.

• Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger was wearing Shaquille O'Neal's three-peat Los Angeles Lakers championship ring in the Steelers' locker room yesterday. Roethlisberger, who recently appeared on O'Neal's reality television show, borrowed one of Shaq's rings. Roethlisberger said he's returning it this week.

• None of the starters are expected to play long in the final exhibition game against the Panthers. The threat of injury heading into the regular season is always a concern, Roethlisberger said. "I want to make sure that everybody gets out healthy," he said. "No one wants to get hurt in a preseason game."

Digits

5 -- Touchdowns Steelers have scored this preseason.

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