David DeCastro Reveals Timeline on Potential Return to NFL

David DeCastro

Getty Images David DeCastro of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2012.

Almost as soon as the Pittsburgh Steelers announced their decision to release David DeCastro, reporters for a wide array of other NFL clubs argued why their team (the Cincinnati Bengals, for example) “should be interested” in the 6-time Pro Bowler or ought to make signing the former first-round pick “a priority” (Atlanta Falcons).

But don’t expect DeCastro to be going to training camp with the Bengals or Falcons, or any other NFL team. While talking to Jim Colony of 93.7 The Fan (Pittsburgh) on Friday, the nine-year veteran revealed that he is facing ankle surgery and that it will be at least “a couple of months” before he can even begin assessing his readiness to play football again.

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This Will Be David DeCastro’s Third Ankle Surgery

“I had surgery on this ankle last year and it didn’t heal right,” DeCastro told Colony. “Last year it bothered me. Not only is it painful but it’s hard to play on when you feel like you’re playing half-legged,” he added, noting that last year was the second time he had surgery to try to repair the bone spurs in his ankle.

Now he’s hoping that the third time’s the charm—and that he can eventually return to professional football—but he doesn’t sound like a man who is committed to doing so.

“I just gotta get this ankle right, not just for football if I want to play again but just for life to make sure I have mobility and be able to be active when I’m done,” DeCastro told Colony.

He also indicated that the surgery hasn’t been scheduled yet, and admitted that “a couple of months” may not be enough time before he can start “running and moving around” again.

“I don’t know if it would need more,” he added. “Getting older your body doesn’t recover like it used to and if you start pounding on it right away stuff doesn’t come back….”

DeCastro ‘Not Really Too Concerned About the Future’

But if it turns out that DeCastro has already played his last NFL game, he says he’s at peace with the prospect of retirement.

“I’ve thought about it all off-season,” he said, before adding: “I’m not really too concerned about the future, to be honest. I had a great career [in Pittsburgh] and I’ll give it [the decision to play or retire] the time that it deserves and go from there.”

As for the relative suddenness of him being gone from the Steelers—along with left tackle Alejandro Villanueva (free agency) and center Maurkice Pouncey (retirement)—all within a matter of months, he says he doesn’t spend much time thinking about the group not being together anymore.

Instead, he focuses on the great memories “and the great games and seasons we had together. It was a lot of fun. They made the game easy to play and that’s what football is about.”

Yet he admitted it will be decidedly odd watching Villanueva suit up for the Baltimore Ravens and go against his old teammates.

“I know he’s excited about the opportunity there,” concluded DeCastro. “It will be interesting to watch the Steelers-Ravens games, that’s for sure.”

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