So, the big news today was that tackle Marcus Gilbert got a six-year contract extension from the Steelers. I’m hardly an expert on offensive linemen, which is why I only remember Gilbert for struggling. Obviously the Steelers know more than I do and they expect Gilbert to be a long-term solution at one of the tackle positions. It would be wonderful to see a high draft pick (Gilbert went in the 2nd round in 2011) on the offensive line turn into the cornerstones they should be. With Gilbert and his long time friend and teammate, Maurkice Pouncey, now on long-term deals, the offensive line is beginning to take shape. Assuming David DeCastro becomes that same steady presence at left guard, the Steelers may yet salvage what have been some decidedly poor drafts over the past six years or so.
Also suiting up for the Steelers this season will once again will be the man, the beard, Brett Keisel. The 36-year-old defensive end will likely play out the last season of his career with the same team that drafted him all the way back in 2002. Keisel’s signing is a nice morale booster for the fans, and likely for many of the players in the locker room as well. His return to Pittsburgh also means that the coaches haven’t been impressed with what they’ve seen out of the young defensive linemen in camp so far (consider all the missed tackles at the point-of-attack in preseason). And at Keisel’s age, if sees more than a few snaps per game in relief duty, it’s going to be a long season for the defense.
I’m not sure if that made me sound like a downer, but I might be overcompensating because Brett Keisel is one of my favorite players. His was the first Steeler jersey I ever got, all the way back in like, 2006-ish? I’m a little excited about this.