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Steelers re-sign Keisel to bolster depth on defensive line

| Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014, 7:30 p.m.
Christopher Horner | Trib Total Media
Steelers defensive end Brett Keisel celebrates a tackle in front of the Browns' Greg Little during the first quarter Sunday, Dec. 30, 2012, at Heinz Field.

The Steelers, who spent most of the past two years shedding players from their recent Super Bowl past, are bringing back defensive end Brett Keisel for one more season.

Keisel, who played on the 2005 and 2008 Super Bowl-winning teams, was re-signed Tuesday to add a veteran presence and depth to a relatively inexperienced defensive line. The 12-year veteran has 29 sacks, including one in each of the final two games last season.

Keisel, a free agent, reportedly turned down a chance to visit Tuesday with the Arizona Cardinals because he didn't want to leave his family behind in Pittsburgh during the season. He then returned to the Steelers, who had previously offered him a veteran's minimum contract.

“I'm very excited to finish what I started in 2002 with the Steelers. Time to get to work!” Keisel posted in a Twitter message.

According to teammate Cam Heyward, Keisel, who turns 36 next month, has been working out and preparing to play in case he reached terms with a team.

The Steelers went through training camp with Heyward at left defensive end, Steve McLendon at nose tackle and rookie Stephon Tuitt splitting time with former Chargers lineman Cam Thomas at right defensive end. During the Bills preseason game Saturday, McLendon and Thomas played in the base defense but Tuitt played in sub package downs, mostly in the dime defense.

“We plan on continuing to rotate those guys but not in any pre-prescribed rotation,” coach Mike Tomlin said.

Rookies Josh Mauro (two sacks vs. Bills) and Daniel McCullers also have been rotating in, along with 2013 draft pick Nick Williams and former practice squad member Brian Arnfelt. It is unlikely Keisel will play Thursday in Philadelphia because he hasn't practiced.

Alan Robinson is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at arobinson@tribweb.com or via Twitter @arobinson_Trib.

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