The Pittsburgh Steelers just concluded their 2021 mandatory minicamp this week. With roughly 5 weeks to go until training camp, the team will not gather together again until at least July 21. The goal when the team comes together next time is to have their entire 90-man roster healthy and ready to prepare for the season.
One player where some mystery clouds the issue is Steelers All-Pro right guard David DeCastro. While DeCastro was at Heinz Field for Steelers minicamp, he did not participate in any of the activities. When head coach Mike Tomlin was asked about DeCastro and his injury status, he dismissed the question in a way only coach Tomlin does.
“If I thought injury circumstances or reasons why people were not participating were significant,” Tomlin stated, “I would share them with you, but I’m not going to address day-to-day like things in this environment. It’s not required.”
If this were it, there wouldn’t be much left to think about the situation. But Friday afternoon changed everything when it was reported the Steelers brought in five-time Pro Bowl right guard Trai Turner for a visit.
It should be noted Turner is coming off what would be considered by far his worst season as a pro. After being released from the Los Angeles Chargers in March as a cap casualty, Turner could possibly be looking for work at a bargain value.
But of all the positions the Steelers could spend their limited resources on, why would they choose to invest at guard?
There are a number of possible answers. Perhaps the Steelers are not sold on any of their centers and may be considering a position move for DeCastro or Kevin Dotson. It’s not completely out of the question that either one of them could get bumped in to center.
Another possibility could be the Steelers really aren’t comfortable with their depth at the position. Even though they brought in Rashaad Coward, who has started 15 games at guard over the last two seasons for the Chicago Bears, maybe he just isn’t working out. Additionally, the other depth at the guard position are the three centers that are battling for the starting job for the Steelers.
Yet another possibility is that the Steelers wanted to bolster their offensive line and they felt the best player on the market was Turner. Maybe they weren’t worried as much about his exact position on the line and they were just looking to add another experienced player.
After these possibilities, ones around David DeCastro start to creep in and seem like more of a greater chance. Even though Tomlin said the injury was not significant by not disclosing it, maybe DeCastro’s availability for 2021 is much more bleak than the Steelers realized. If there is concern that DeCastro won’t be healthy for the season, it would make sense for the Steelers to explore other options.
There is another possibility when it comes to DeCastro which is more of a longshot, but still a possibility. They were various reports in 2020 that DeCastro did not have the same love or fire for the game of football. It could be seen in his film as the nastiness DeCastro once brought didn’t seem to be present in his game. While many chalked it up to injury, it could have just been indifference to the game, or a combination of the two factors.
It’s not beyond the realm of possibility that DeCastro came to Steelers minicamp this week after skipping OTAs and just wasn’t feeling the fire to get back onto the field. Maybe after giving it three days, DeCastro informed the Steelers that he was going to be calling it quits. Perhaps he didn’t even inform Steelers of this, but they were getting the feeling themselves and wanted to be proactive about any possible decision DeCastro could make.
The bottom line is, it is all speculation. We really don’t know if there’s more to the Dave DeCastro story as the Steelers have no reason to share any more information than what they already have. It is interesting that out of all Steelers players who were made available to the media this week, DeCastro was not one of them as pointed out by Mark Kaboly of The Athletic.
Over the 4 weeks of OTAs and minicamp, we talked to every starter .... except David DeCastro.— Mark Kaboly (@MarkKaboly) June 18, 2021
If DeCastro was missing time due to injury, it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to answer questions. But if the injury wasn’t that big of a deal, than speaking into the media should not have been either.
The timing of the Steelers bringing in a guard, particularly a right guard, for a tryout is curious. Granted Trai Turner reportedly left Pittsburgh without a contract, so nothing has been solidified in that department. But to say the status of the 2021 season when it comes to the Pittsburgh Steelers and David DeCastro is concerning would be quite the understatement at the present time. And for those Steelers fans already worried about a number of things going into the season, this just adds one more item to stress over.