Steelers All-Pro To Miss Opener Vs. Giants: Report


Andy Lyons/Getty Images Ben Roethlisberger #7 of the Pittsburgh Steelers shakes hands with David DeCastro #66.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are seen as having an advantage over most other NFL teams entering the 2020 season as they have experienced little turnover in terms of coaches and starting players since last year. But that stability probably won’t extend to the offensive line, which is likely to see three new starters in the season opener versus the New York Giants, as All-Pro right guard David DeCastro is expected to miss the game with an injury, this according to Gerry Dulac of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

In that case veteran offensive lineman Stefen Wisniewski is expected to move from left guard to take DeCastro’s place on the line, leaving the left guard position open, possibly to be manned by rookie fourth-round pick Kevin Dotson.

Notably, head coach Mike Tomlin didn’t announce that DeCastro would miss the game during his press conference on Tuesday. Instead he said: “We didn’t work David yesterday on a bonus day. We’ll see what tomorrow holds as we begin our preparation week. I know he’s excited about getting back out there with his teammates as soon as possible.”

Also of note, Tomlin didn’t reveal who would start at right tackle against the Giants, through a report emerged on Tuesday that Zach Banner will be the starter to open the season.

Meanwhile, Alejandro Villanueva will start at left tackle and Maurkice Pouncey will start at center, as per usual.

DeCastro has been exceptionally durable over the course of his eight seasons in the NFL. He has only missed four games since becoming a full-time starter in 2013.

Practice Squad Protected Players For Week One

In other news on Tuesday, the Steelers announced the four players from their practice squad that they have chosen to protect for week one, those being:

Linebacker Jayrone Elliott
Defensive End Henry Mondeaux
Safety Curtis Riley
Running Back Wendell Smallwood

This is the first year teams can protect players on their practice squad and prevent them from being signed by another club. It’s a concession to the potential personnel shortages that could occur if the coronavirus strikes a locker room.

The complete list of players on the team’s practice squad can be found on our Steelers practice squad tracker.

New Steelers Jersey Numbers

A number of Steelers players also changed jersey numbers on Tuesday. Per the current roster on the team’s official site, James Pierre will wear No. 42, Trajan Bandy No. 40, Jarron Jones No. 74, Wendell Smallwood No. 29 and Curtis Riley No. 35.

New punter Dustin Colquitt, signed to a contract on Monday, will wear No. 4, as quarterback Mason Rudolph wears No. 2.

Details on Cameron Heyward’s Contract Extension

Last but not least, the aforementioned Dulac also added some insight today into the details of the four-year contract extension signed by defensive end Cameron Heyward over the weekend.

Namely, he says: “Heyward’s new 5-year, $75.1 million contract is heavily backloaded, but he received a $17.5 million signing bonus and will receive a $2.75 million roster bonus payable on Friday. His base salary rises to $15.85 million in 2023 and $16 million in 2024.”

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