One of the most frequent complaints that football fans have when it comes to off-field coverage of the game is that it so heavily focuses on the negative stories. That is why I always feel obliged to cover the good stories when they come up as well, such as Ryan Shazier’s acceptance of the Ed Block Courage Award.
The NFL announced the nominees from each team for the fifth annual Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award yesterday, so I figured it would only make sense to cover that as well. For this year, the Pittsburgh Steelers’ nominee is veteran right guard David DeCastro, whose teammates spoke of him in glowing terms.
“He just does it the right way. He shows up for work, he doesn’t talk that much, and when he does you listen”, center Maurkice Pouncey said. “He plays the right way. He isn’t dirty at all. He just likes being physical playing football. To have him around, and the things he does and the way he is, he makes football fun and easy. He earns respect from opponents for the way he plays the game. Everybody loves him”.
The two have spent (most of) the past seven years lining up side by side for the Steelers, even in the Pro Bowl lately, so they have certainly grown to share a tight bond as the stalwarts of the team’s NFL-best offensive line.
Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva expressed similar thoughts on DeCastro, calling his relationship with football “a romance”. Villanueva, who took an extremely roundabout way toward making it in the NFL, says that DeCastro frequently recites his only football story, and how he didn’t like it at first, and never thought he would make it to this level.
The left tackle actually gave very extensive comments on the topic that are worth reading, so even more than usual, I highly encourage you to click through to the source link and give it a read. Almost everything Villanueva has to say is worth taking the time to read.
The most significant part, though, was him saying that DeCastro is a “role model” for younger players “because he is always doing the right thing. He never says anything out of line. He doesn’t do any of the things coach tells us not to do. He is the perfect Steelers player”.
“He does everything right”, he added. “If you are wondering how you should approach your career, take care of your body, treat others, face challenges, you just look at what David is doing. He always has a very intelligent and well thought out plan on how to accomplish any challenges that come up in your career”.
Each team nominates a player, and eight finalists—four per conference—will be chosen by NFL veterans of the past. The winner, to be announced in the awards ceremony before the super bowl, will be given a trophy, as well as a $25,000 donation to a charity of his choosing.