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“He’s probably as good an athlete as I’ve ever seen at defensive end in terms of running, jumping, hand-eye coordination,” LeBeau said. “We’ve talked for years that he could be a linebacker, but (defensive line coach John Mitchell) won’t let us touch him.”

Told that, Keisel laughed. Who knows? If Keisel had been put at linebacker, maybe he’d be the one _ and not, say, Harrison _ registering sacks, earning multiple Pro Bowl starts, getting league Defensive Player of the Year votes.

“It’s tough to be a scheme like this,” Keisel said. “You have to be unselfish. That’s the first thing they preach when you come in here as a young guy: ‘We don’t expect you to make a lot of plays. We expect you to go your job, to hold the point of attack, to keep a couple guys on you and free up our linebackers.’

“That’s how it’s always been here. We kind of relish that. We’ll take LaMarr and James being the great players they are … and winning Super Bowls. That’s what matters to us, is winning.”

But winning two Super Bowl rings didn’t get Keisel the endorsement deals. “Da Beard,” however, has. Keisel _ and some exaggerated facial hair _ appear in a shampoo commercial along with Polamalu and his celebrated hair.

Just like Pro Bowl nominations, commercials just get don’t filmed all that often featuring 3-4 defensive ends. For “Da Beard,” they do.

“You know, the beard’s done a lot for me, it really has,” Keisel said. “It’s been fun, I’ve had great responses from my teammates, from Steeler Nation, so that part of it’s been a lot of fun. I can’t say that the beard is the reason my game is what it is, because it’s not. But it does help me. It makes me unique and I like that.”


Note: C Maurkice Pouncey was a new addition to the injury report Thursday after being limited in practice by an elbow injury.