Forget "Fear the Beard."
Much to the disappointment of the bushy growth's nearly 30,000 Facebook fans, it's time to "Shear the Beard."
"It's coming off soon," Keisel said Tuesday outside the Steelers' practice facility. "I'm not exactly sure when or how it's going to happen. But it's going to come off soon. It was a good thing. I think looking back, I wouldn't change it."
Keisel had promised not to cut or trim the reddish-brown beard as long as the Steelers kept winning. So, Keisel can bust out the clippers this week, though his full-bodied facial hair surely would have kept him warm during a Super Bowl parade that would have been held on a frigid Tuesday had the Steelers defeated the Packers in Super Bowl XLV.
Tomlin also addressed some various rules and restrictions that would come if owners decide to move ahead with a lockout. The Steelers, like most NFL players, are worried about what will happen with organized team activities, minicamps, health insurance and other necessities when the collective bargaining agreement expires March 3.
"Hey man, you better save some money, just in case," defensive end Nick Eason said. "A lot of things have changed. I mean, we've been taken care of through our health insurance, and things like that, and we're going to have that no longer. So it's time to save, time to not buy cars and spend money."
About an hour after the meeting ended, Tomlin walked out of a side door of the practice facility wearing a scarf and his AFC champions ballcap, but no coat, on a brisk day where the wind chill was below zero.
Tomlin waved before he slipped into his sport-utility vehicle and backed it up to the doors of the practice facility to load some belongings. He then tipped his cap as he drove out of the parking lot.
Hoke, a free agent after 10 years with the Steelers, was a key component in their last two championships. And, of course, he expected to extend the perfect record Sunday.
"I'm glad we won the first two, because I don't how you deal with it," Hoke said. "It makes you so much happier you won the first two. It's tough to lose Super Bowls. You get there, you dream of being on top of that podium holding that trophy, passing it around, celebrating with your teammates."
Under the Rooney family, the Steelers have long been fond of stability. And Art Rooney already has said not to expect many changes.
Who knows? Maybe Keisel's mangy mane might be the biggest offseason transformation.
"It was a lot of fun, and I think a lot of people had a good time with it," Keisel said. "We'll see what happens. Hopefully I can grow another one."
Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press