Steelers DE Brett Keisel Alters Appearance And Raises Money With Third Annual "Shear Da Beard"
By: Kim O'Hara | Posted: February 08, 2013
If you Google the name "Brett Keisel", the first suggested phrase isn't "Brett Keisel Steelers" or even "Brett Keisel football". It's "Brett Keisel beard". The Pittsburgh defensive end is known just as well for his facial hair as for any football feats he's accomplished (he posted a team third-best 4.5 sacks in 2012); Keisel has even appeared with teammate Troy Polamalu in a number of Head and Shoulders promotions. Less known outside of Pittsburgh is what happens to Keisel's beard once the season ends: everybody who's anybody attends his annual Shear Da Beard fundraiser.
Teammates, defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, head coach Mike Tomlin and even owner Dan Rooney each took turns playing barber with Keisel's famous facial locks as hundreds of Steelers fans cheered them on. When all was said and done, Keisel disappeared momentarily, only to bound back onstage to the tune of ZZTops's "Sharp Dressed Man". According to Keisel, his two year-old daughter didn't immediately recognize the clean-shaven man before her:
"My daughter came in the door and she was like who is that? I don't know him. I had to get my voice out to her and make sure she realized it was me talking to her. She finally warmed up to me."
Before and After: what a difference a shave makes. (Pictures from @bkeisel99)
Though it wouldn't be a surprise if Steelers fans were simply interested in watching Keisel's physical transformation (as quarterback Ben Roethlisberger said last night: "Only in Pittsburgh!"), Shear Da Beard is actually a charitable event that raises money for the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh at UPMC, specifically the cancer program as well as various research endeavors. When the idea first hatched three seasons ago, Keisel credits former teammate Aaron Smith, whose son battled leukemia, as inspiration:
"Aaron Smith taught me so much about being a man, football and living. Their family got a lot of help from children's hospital. I am giving back in honor of them and what they have done for me in my life."
The 2013 event sold out weeks in advance, so if you're planning to be in the Pittsburgh area this time next year, you might want to book your tickets early.
Kim O'Hara is the Associate Editor of TheFootballGirl.com. She is an avid fan of sports in general, but the NFL in particular. She has also been a contributor to ESPN the Magazine. Follow her on Twitter: @KimOHaraTFG
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