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NFL notes: Steelers sign ex-BYU standout Brett Keisel
NFL notes » Pittsburgh calls on veteran to shore up defensive line.
First Published Aug 19 2014 09:44 pm • Last Updated Aug 19 2014 09:52 pm

Da Beard is on his way back to ‘Da Burgh.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are planning to re-sign defensive end Brett Keisel to bolster a reconfigured line that has struggled to produce much of anything in the first two weeks of the preseason.

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Keisel posted on his Twitter feed Tuesday "I am very excited to finish what I started in 2002 with the (at)steelers. Time to get to work!!"

The Steelers decided not to re-sign Keisel in the offseason after the 35-year-old from BYU finished with four sacks in 12 games in 2013. Pittsburgh drafted Stephon Tuitt in the second round and signed Cam Thomas as a free agent as part of a youth movement along an aging defense.

While Tuitt has been solid during preseason, Thomas has yet to make an impact.

Keisel, who turns 36 on Sept. 19, was effective when healthy last season. But with the team up against the salary cap he wasn’t going to command anywhere near the $4.9 million cap number he received last year. Keisel became a fan favorite later in his career, growing a beard each year then shaving it off when the season was over for charity.

Browns continueQB competition

Cleveland first-year coach Mike Pettine still hasn’t chosen his Week 1 starting quarterback, and that’s not his fault. Brian Hoyer and Johnny Manziel haven’t convinced him — or anyone, really — that they deserve the job.

Pettine had been expected to announce during a teleconference on Tuesday whether Hoyer, the inexperienced veteran and hometown hero coming back from knee surgery, or Manziel, the hyped rookie and former Heisman Trophy winner, would start the Sept. 7 opener at Pittsburgh. But the decision has been delayed and it could carry through Cleveland’s third preseason game on Saturday. Pettine’s choice grew much tougher after Hoyer and Manziel both played poorly in a 24-23 exhibition loss at Washington on Monday night.


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Hoyer started and missed wide-open receivers and appeared to be buckling under the pressure of not being able to put an end to his competition with Manziel.

Hoyer finished 2 of 6 for 16 yards, hardly the numbers he needed to solidify starting.

"It was embarrassing," Hoyer said.

Manziel’s most memorable moment may have been when he made an obscene gesture toward Washington’s sideline, an act Pettine called "extremely disappointing" and will likely result in a fine from the NFL.

Manziel completed 7 of 16 passes for 65 yards and one touchdown, which came against Washington’s backups.

Practice squads expand to 10 players

NFL teams can carry 10 players on their practice squads for the next two seasons. The league and the players’ union agreed Tuesday to increase the number of practice squad members from eight to 10.

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