With all of the rumors of a potential Brett Keisel return to the Steelers, I've compiled a simple yes/no list of reasons why we may (or may not) "Fear The Beard" in 2014.
Will Brett Keisel return?
Yes. Cam Heyward is the only player solidified in his position at defensive end. We have yet to see if free agent pickup Cam Thomas, or incumbent nose tackle Steve McLendon, can play on the end.
Yes. Steve McClendon bulked up over the off-season, as to not be out-muscled by opposing linemen. Will the added weight hinder his ability to play on the end?
No. Thomas or McClendon will slide over to DE and fill in nicely or...
No. The Steelers drafted Stephon Tuitt to play on the edge.
Yes. Stephon Tuitt will need time to adjust to Lebeau's system.
Yes. Keisel will provide necessary depth for the three players mentioned, who do not have much experience playing in what was, "The Deisel's" starting position.
No. Keisel is 35 and missed four games due to injury last year.
Yes. Keisel has less "wear and tear" on his body for a player his age, and has kept himself in good condition for a return.
No. Undrafted rookie free agent Josh Mauro (Stanford) surprises us again: first by not being drafted and second, by making the 53 man roster.
No. Blame Maurkice Pouncey: originally set to make $1.5 million, the starting center signed a new deal which will pay him $5 million this season. The deal eats up most of the cap room Pittsburgh had remaining for free agent signings.
No. Keisel will not sign for the veteran minimum. Remember, it's not always about the money. As an 11 year veteran and 35 years old, he may say he's willing to play more seasons, but his body also pays the price.
Yes. Keisel will sign for the veteran minimum, playing a reduced role in the Steelers defense and adding insurance on the defensive and veteran leadership to the entire defensive unit.
Yes. This is far from a sure sign pointing to Keisel's return, but if you believe in conspiracy theories, Brett's #99 has not been reassigned to another player during camp.