Not only did the Pittsburgh Steelers surprisingly terminate the contract of guard David DeCastro on Thursday, but they also did so with a non-football injury designation. Personally, I never saw that coming. It technically means that the Steelers terminated his contract because his injury is not related to football. It’s basically a stab at releasing an injured player without having to pay him. So, will DeCastro now file a grievance against the Steelers in an attempt to retrieve some or all the $8.75 million he was scheduled to earn in 2021? It’s certainly possible.
During an interview with 93.7 The Fan, DeCastro was asked if there will be any sort of injury settlement involved and if so, how would such a thing work, technically.
“I have no idea,” DeCastro said. “My agent does a great job and I’m sure he’ll get the [NFL] Players Association and whatever we can do, we can do. I’m not sure how much [of a case I have] I have, but honestly, it’s not really my concern or worry right now. It’s more just kind of getting this ankle right, not just for football if I want to play again, but just for life. Make sure I have mobility and be able to be active when I’m done.”
Off the air, DeCastro had something else to say about being terminated by the Steelers with an NFI designation.
“The owners are billionaires for a reason.” DeCastro said, per his conversation with 93.7 The Fan.
That remark suggests that DeCastro is not too happy with how he was jettisoned from the Steelers. It’s also another clue that the veteran guard might file A grievance against the Steelers.
If DeCastro does file a grievance against the Steelers, it likely would not be heard for quite some time. Should such a grievance go in DeCastro’s favor, the Steelers would be charged whatever the amount is against their 2022 salary cap. That’s if it is settled by then.
So, what is going on with DeCastro’s ankle that will lead to a third surgery on it in the near future and when did he find out for sure?
“You know, I get an MRI done on my ankle in minicamp because it had been bothering me all offseason,” DeCastro said. “I had surgery on it last year, trying to get it fixed up because it’s bothered me my whole career. and it looks like I need surgery for a third time just to try and get it right. I had some bone spurs come back that really limited my mobility. Not only is it painful, but it’s hard to play on and you feel like you’re playing on half a leg somewhat. So, it’s one of those things that I needed to get done and [I’m] going to get that scheduled and kind of go from there. That’s kind of where I’m at right now.”
Come to find out, DeCastro’s ankle has been on his mind all offseason.
“Yeah, I thought about it all offseason,” DeCastro said. “I knew something was wrong. About an 18-month window is usually when you can tell with surgery, and I gave it my best shot. I gave it time to rest in the offseason. And then I started working out on it and running and moving around and I just knew something wasn’t right. You know your body pretty well as you get older. So, got the MRI and saw that I had a problem and I’ve got to get it fixed. So, it’s pretty straight forward. Like I said, I gave my best shot. I knew the surgery last year was my best shot to kind of fix it. And you know, is what it is now, I’ve got to get it fixed up again and kind of go from there.”
With surgery now on deck for DeCastro, the veteran All-Pro guard was asked how long he expects his rehab to be and if he might consider resuming his playing career with another team other than the Steelers.
“Yeah, we’ll have to see how it goes,” DeCastro said. “Like I said, I haven’t talked to the doctor specifically. I think he said a couple of months, maybe, recovery wise. I don’t know if it’s going to need more. They always say that, but then, you know, I’m definitely getting older, the body doesn’t recover like it used to. And if you start pounding on it right away, does the stuff come back? So, a lot of variables, other questions, just kind of taking it day by day and get the surgery scheduled and kind of go from there.”
No matter how the next several months go for DeCastro, it doesn’t sound like he has any bad feelings about anything that has transpired in his NFL career to date. That includes his contract termination by the Steelers on Thursday.
“It’s just the facts of life in the NFL,” DeCastro said “I mean, you can only do so much. You know, your body can be a limiting factor at some points. And it’s unfortunate, but at the same time, I’m happy and I’m at peace and you give it everything you can, gave it my best shot, so, just kind of is what it is.”