I’m certainly not the first to say it, but it feels especially appropriate to say right about now: The Pittsburgh Steelers haven’t hardly done a damn thing for a decade now. They have one appearance in the AFC championship game and three total postseason victories since appearing in the Super Bowl in 2010.
Why is now a timely reminder? Because we’ve just witnessed the completion of the dissolution of one of the team’s core units of that era: The offensive line. Over the past two years, Ramon Foster, Maurkice Pouncey, and Marcus Gilbert have all retired, while Alejandro Villanueva and Matt Feiler left via free agency.
Most recently, David DeCastro was waived with a Non-Football Injury designation. There is a strong chance that he decides to retire as well after all this. While he recently told The Fan that he is content with his career, he did admit to feeling some sort of way about failing to achieve their ultimate goal of winning a championship.
“It’s frustrating, for sure. But we still have a lot of great memories, and did some good things”, he said last week. “Would’ve loved to get a ring, especially with the guys we had. It would’ve been special. But, like you said, no regrets, it is what it is, we didn’t do what we could, and as some point, you’ve just got to move on”.
DeCastro was the 24th overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. While he missed most of his rookie season due to injury, they failed to make the playoffs anyway, going 8-8, as they would do the following year, as well.
After that, they did go on a four-year postseason run that coincided with the offensive line becoming one of the best units in football under the tutelage of Mike Munchak. They tapped out in the Wild Card Round in 2014, but made it to the Divisional Round a year later, then the Conference Championship in 2016.
Of course, they earned a bye week in 2017, but were put to shame in the Divisional Round against the Jacksonville Jaguars, who prior to the previous week, hadn’t won a playoff game, or even been in one, in a decade (of course, beating the Steelers in the Wild Card Round in 2007, Mike Tomlin’s first season).
Though he went to the Pro Bowl six times and was an All-Pro three times, DeCastro and the rest of this unit failed to get nearly the taste of success that they should have been able to. No matter how content you might be with your overall career, it’s hard to say you have no regrets when you dedicated the past nine years of your life striving for that goal.