Steelers release six-time Pro Bowl guard David DeCastro, intensifying considerations on offensive line

The Steelers’ largest question mark of 2021 received bigger on Thursday

with the group abruptly asserting the release of six-time Pro Bowl guard David DeCastro. Pittsburgh had already been set to open the new year, which might be quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s last, with three new starters on the offensive line following the departures of Alejandro Villanueva, Maurkice Pouncey and Matt Feiler. Now, a week after hosting free agent guard Trai Turner on a go to, the Steelers have stated goodbye to their most accomplished remaining blocker. Pittsburgh signed Turner to a one-year deal following DeCastro’s release, per ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 31-year-old DeCastro had lately been having his ankle evaluated for an damage, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, and has “had issues with it for quite some time,” even undergoing surgical procedure for the ailment prior to the 2020 season. A first-round choose of the Steelers again in 2012, the lineman attended but did not participate in Pittsburgh’s necessary minicamp earlier this month. In the wake of his release, per Garafolo, he’s “evaluating his future,” with others speculating retirement might be on the horizon. The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette notes DeCastro also battled an belly injury final summer season, maybe all the greatest way into the season.

“I truly have to get surgical procedure on my ankle a 3rd time,” DeCastro informed Joe Starkey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette later on Thursday. “I tried to repair it final year but the bone spurs saved coming again. It nagged me fairly dangerous all final 12 months.”

As for retirement rumors, DeCastro told Starkey he is “gotta see how the surgical procedure goes” however would have “no problem calling it a day and transferring on with my life.”

The NFL’s official transaction reports indicates DeCastro was cut with a non-football harm (NFI) designation. The move, which saves Pittsburgh $8.seventy five million this yr, suggests the guard suffered an injury away from team services.

When wholesome, however, DeCastro had lengthy been one of many Steelers’ prime linemen, in addition to one of many NFL’s best interior blockers. He made his sixth straight Pro Bowl in 2020 and began 124 games for Pittsburgh over 9 seasons, also earning three All-Pro nods.

With DeCastro gone, the Steelers are left with solely returning starter up entrance: Fourth-year man Chukwuma Okorafor, who is slated to move from proper sort out to left sort out to exchange Villanueva. Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Aviante Collins and Zach Banner are amongst these set to step into beginning roles this 12 months. Turner, who made 5 Pro Bowls with the Panthers from 2015-2019 earlier than one season with the Chargers, might additionally function insurance after visiting the Steelers.

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