Steelers All-Pro Offers Startling Admission About Playing in 2020


Getty Pittsburgh Steelers lineman David DeCastro, left, with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger.

Pittsburgh Steelers All-Pro offensive guard David DeCastro made news recently when he related the changes he’s seen in Ben Roethlisberger since the Steelers quarterback returned from elbow surgery. Overshadowed somewhat were his comments about his decision to play in 2020, despite concerns surrounding COVID-19, especially for heavyweight linemen like himself.

David DeCastro: ‘I’m Not Too Afraid’

“I’ll be honest, I’m not too afraid,” DeCastro said, via Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “That’s just my personal opinion of it. I haven’t really done anything to—I don’t know really much what you can do if it’s worth taking those risks to completely isolate yourself. To me, I don’t really see that as beneficial. I’d rather be with my kids and family and take that risk. I haven’t changed that at all.”

DeCastro’s comments seem to suggest that he’s not going out of his way to protect himself from catching coronavirus, which could be alarming to the Steelers organization and some of his teammates. Or perhaps he meant that he doesn’t like the idea of incorporating a ‘bubble’ approach, as is being utilized by the NBA and NHL, which would keep him apart from his wife and two daughters.

At the same time, one can understand how an NFL player benefits from having a one-track mind, so to speak.

“I’ve always had that mindset of just being all in,” DeCastro said during a conference call with reporters on Monday. “Football being No. 1, it’s almost sort of a religious experience, plus that gift for myself. I love the game. I always have. It’s done so much for me. You can’t really think about the money and whatnot when you’re playing. You just have to be all about football, attacking that day and having that routine. It just makes life a lot easier.”

DeCastro is listed at 6-5 and 316 pounds. He signed a six-year contract with the Steelers on September 8, 2016, and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent following the 2021 season, just like center Maurkice Pouncey.

DeCastro was the team’s first-round draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, selected 24th overall out of Stanford University. He has been named to the Pro Bowl for five consecutive seasons, from 2015-19.

Steelers Have One Player on the Reserve/COVID-19 List

As for the Steelers as a whole, the organization has thus far been able to avoid an outbreak of COVID-19 among players, coaches and staffers. Today the Steelers activated cornerback Justin Layne from the COVID-19 list, so the team now has just one player on the list—running back Jaylen Samuels, who was added to the list on August 2nd.

The Steelers, like the rest of the NFL, have a ‘bubble’ surrounding their training camp. But the organization does not isolate its players once they leave Heinz Field, nor are they required to quarantine at home.

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