They say where there’s smoke there’s fire.
As it pertains to long-time Steelers guard, David DeCastro, I guess I wasn’t seeing any of the smoke signals that were looming this offseason regarding the ultimate demise of his career in Pittsburgh.
They also say athletes are human, even though it’s often easy to forget that part, especially when it comes to huge football players wearing the armor of battle each Sunday.
I didn’t really know what was ailing DeCastro last season when he missed several games due to injury and didn’t look like his perennial-Pro Bowl self while actually playing, but like a lot of folks, I simply assumed he would be just fine once the 2021 campaign rolled around. In fact, I assumed that a long time ago, as far as back the spring, when I expected DeCastro to be an anchor of an offensive line that had lost a number of veterans over the past year so, including Ramon Foster (retirement), Maurkice Pouncey (retirement), Matt Feiler (free agency) and Alejandro Villanueva (free agency).
I couldn’t even bother to read much into the fact that DeCastro didn’t dress for the recently-concluded mandatory minicamp. I figured it was just a precautionary act so as to preserve a 31-year old stud who obviously didn’t need to be out there honing his craft in a helmet and shorts.
As for veteran guard Trai Turner’s visit the week of minicamp? I chalked that up to general manager Kevin Colbert’s earnest insistence that the Steelers are always looking at players and evaluating what they could bring to the organization.
With all of that in mind, let’s just say I was super shocked to find out that the Steelers had released DeCastro on Thursday after nine years of superbly picking up the slack that Alan Faneca had left behind when the future Hall of Famer guard departed Pittsburgh following the 2007 season.
I guess DeCastro is human after all. Looks like ankles—as it turns out, the ankle was the culprit last season—can be just as tricky for All-Pro guards as they often are for recreational basketball players.
DeCastro will have to have his ankle “cleaned out” for the third time in his career. Will it help? Will he continue to play somewhere else? Will he simply retire and enjoy his post-football life as quietly as he did his playing career?
None of those questions can really be answered at the moment. All I know for sure is that DeCastro was the last domino to fall for an offensive line that went from a perennial liability at the beginning of the 2010s to a perennial juggernaut by the middle of the previous decade.
I guess I really should have seen the DeCastro release coming, and I suppose I may have if I had been aware of that trick ankle.
It’s much harder to play professional football with one of those than it is recreational basketball.