Time to say bye to the beards

It's a tradition like no other.

And a makeover like no other.

And it's set to go down soon.

Brett Keisel has made shaving his beard an epic yearly tradition in Pittsburgh, and this year he has recruited some help, with Cameron Heyward ready to do his part by shaving his hairy beard as well.

The ninth annual Shear Da Beard will be held on Friday, Feb. 15 at Jergel's in the North Hills area, an event filled with fun, but has a far deeper meaning than the length of a beard.

Shear Da Beard benefits the cancer programs at UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh. And the bottom line is that's what it's all about.

"We have tried the last few years to really show what the event is about, having representatives from Children's Hospital there, have kids there who have had chemo that day," said Keisel. "That really puts a face to the event and why we are doing what we are doing. It's all for these kids. That's why we do it."

Keisel and Heyward are two kindred souls, so it should be no surprise they have teamed up this year. And it goes well beyond the football field and their love of getting after a quarterback. It's their passion, their hearts, their gentle kindness. Like Keisel in the past, Heyward is the Steelers nominee for the Walter Payton Man of the Year, which will be announced on Saturday night. And a passion they both share is giving back to the kids at Children's Hospital.

"I have had the pleasure of working with them as well," said Heyward. "Nothing but good people, and being around the kids, it's special. When those two parties get together, great things are bound to come. It's a blessing that keeps giving back."

The night is bound to be filled with lots of fun, lots of laughs, and you never know who is going to show up to snip off a few hairs.

"I am ready to shave mine off," said Keisel. "I still have some maple syrup in there from today's pancakes. It's getting to the length where I keep zipping it up in my coat zipper. It's time. The good news is it's a nice scarf when things get chilly in these Western Pennsylvania winters.

"I am so looking forward to seeing Cam without his. He would grow his beard out a few times. He wouldn't gradually take it off. He would always go clean. He would step into the building and it's a big change. Cam Heyward with the big head of hair and beard to Cam Heyward clean shaven he looks like a baby boy. I am pumped to see him."

Heyward laughed when thinking about his beard compared to what Keisel impressively is sporting.

"There is no competition there," said Heyward. "That is why I am the accessory, the sidepiece. Brett is the main beard. I am just the baby beard.

"People might be running for the doors once they see this thing. I just want to make sure I am in good shape so I don't have a double chin waiting for me."

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