Brett Keisel's beard 'lives on'
Now-legendary facial hair makes veteran Steelers DE stand out, so does steady play
PITTSBURGH -- The beard has its own Facebook page now, 700-plus admirers strong. It is the source of admiration and stares, high-fives and complaints, love and hate.Brett Keisel emerged from the showers Saturday night, and there were hundreds of things to say. There was the Pro Bowl invitation he'd received earlier in the day, the first ever in a nine-year career. There was the fumble he pounced on that helped the Pittsburgh Steelers gut out a blood-and-mud 31-24 divisional playoff victory over the Baltimore Ravens.
The Steelers decided then that they needed two turnovers to make up for the two the Ravens had in the first half. They came up with three. And all of them came in the third quarter, which ended in a tie at 21. Keisel recovered the last one, a fumbled snap by Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco.
It was one of the defense's most inspired games of the season. It gave up just 126 yards, surrendering 28 in the final 30 minutes. When it was over, Ravens coach John Harbaugh said nothing is ever surprising in the Ravens-Steelers series. The defenses are tough. The outcomes are draining.
But Keisel didn't seem all that tired. He's going for a third ring, which he said would look good on his pinkie. He's keeping the beard, which isn't good news for his wife.
She reportedly bought him a razor for Christmas, which is collecting dust. Keisel has been growing the beard out since June, and he can't get rid of it now. Not with the AFC Championship looming. Not when the defense is playing so well.
"I don't mind the beard," Keisel said. "But I'm sick of the mustache getting into my food. I can't put my mouthpiece in without biting on it.
"I'm sick of it, but I'm a team guy, and I'm going to ride this 'til the very end."
Elizabeth Merrill is a senior writer for ESPN.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. ESPN reporter Greg Garber contributed to this report.
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