1st and 10 with Brett Keisel


Can you talk about how Cam Heyward is playing?
He has been playing great. He is one of those guys that has had to sit and wait for his time. The coaches gave him an opportunity, and that's what we talk about. All you are going to be given in this league is an opportunity and he has taken advantage of it.
What about Ziggy Hood and the way he has handled the demotion. How has he responded to that?

He has responded like a true pro. When it happened, when they made the switch, I told Ziggy he is one snap away from being that guy again. It just so happens I went down and Ziggy stepped in there and played great and had a game-winning sack against the Lions. He is a great competitor, he knows what it takes to get ready to play on Sundays and he has taken advantage of the opportunity to get back out there.

You missed the last two games with the foot injury. How much does it kill you to be a spectator in games?
It's not fun. We're training all year to go out and perform. To watch from the sidelines is something nobody likes to do if you are a competitive person. At the same time it's part of the game.

You are pretty energetic when you are on the sidelines, though, even when not playing. Why is that?
When I was a younger player the guys used to call me 'The Congratulator.' I was the first one if someone made a play who would say something. I would get excited. I love playing the game, I love encouraging my teammates. When they make a play it gets me hyped.You are in your 12th season. The day you were drafted, would you ever have dreamt you would be in the same place 12 years later?

I didn't think I would be here three years and to make it nine past that is quite an accomplishment and something I am very proud of, especially being a late round pick. It's been an awesome thing. We have been so successful here. To be able to continue to go out and compete and help these younger guys, show them the Steelers way, the way we work here, the way our locker room is run. It's very important to me and something I cherish.

What type of advice do you give those younger guys about maintaining that longevity?
It's about never being satisfied. Even if you have a great year, there are always things on the football field you can get better at. That is what you have to strive to do, try and get better every day, mentally, physically. Make yourself the best player you can be so when Sundays roll around you go out there and know you are ready to be your best.
What was it like to see the soldier on Veterans Day wearing your jersey, to stand alongside him for the National Anthem?

It was emotional. Coming from a military family, knowing the sacrifices these men and women make. To be there on that day, we should have days like that once a week that remind us how lucky we are to have such a great country and people that fight for us. That was special. The soldier was wearing my jersey and it just touched me. All I could do was put my arms around him and thank him for everything. It was special.
The next week, actor Charlie Hunnam comes out in your throwback jersey. Maybe a different feeling, but was that cool nonetheless?

That was cool to meet Charlie. Charlie came to our walk-thru the day before and we got to talk some. He is on one of the best shows on television, Sons of Anarchy, and was in the movie Pacific Rim. He is a huge movie star. I told him keep my seat warm because when I am done with this game I am going to join the ranks with you. With that beard you have the face for Hollywood. Could you ever have imagined when you first starting growing it that it would have the life it has had?

It's come a long way. The best thing about it is the impact it has had on kids that are suffering from cancer. I am lucky enough to go by Children's Hospital and talk to the kids, and see them wearing the beards and they have beard pictures up in their rooms. It's become a symbol of hope for them. That really makes me proud to have the beard.
You talk about kids and the beard, are your kids more accustomed to you with it than without it?

Definitely with the beard. They are big beard fans. Really when I have it off they are constantly tell me to grow it back. They are always like where is it? They think it's going to all of a sudden appear. When I cut it off they are the first ones to say you need to grow it back.

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