Father Time always wins, but sometimes he gets a helping hand through injuries. David DeCastro was probably winding down toward the end of his career anyway, going into his tenth season, but a series of injuries now have him contemplating retirement after the Pittsburgh Steelers waived him with a Non-Football Injury designation.
It’s a situation that anybody who’s played the game long enough can probably empathize with. Injuries are an inevitability sooner or later. Very few make it through a long career without serious injuries. And understandably, DeCastro’s teammates feel for him, knowing what he’s been through.
“I knew he had that banged-up ankle. Last season he was battling with a few injuries, the ankle just one of many”, J.C. Hassenauer told Lance Medow on SiriusXM Radio last week. “It’s hard for players, especially when you’re a little bit older, you have these nagging injuries, maybe you have one or two surgeries to repair it, but you try to rush back and maybe you don’t get the amount of time off that you need”.
DeCastro said that his doctors told him he likely originally suffered the ankle injury, which has already previously required two surgeries, when he suffered a torn MCL as a rookie in 2012. He had a player fall on his leg, and missed most of the year.
In other words, he has already dealt with it to varying degrees over the course of his career. Clearly, the past season in particular was an issue. One wonders if he might have had surgery on it last year if not for the pandemic. But while he was cut, that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s done playing.
“I think he definitely could have a few more years playing in him, but then again, I’m obviously not in his body. I can’t tell what type of severity his ankle’s under. Obviously, he has to have another surgery”, Hassenauer said. “I feel bad for him, because he’s such a talented player. It’s a shame that his body can’t hold up, because, I mean, that’s a Hall of Famer. I was blessed to play next to him”.
Everybody who plays understands that they could just as easily be in the same position one day. That makes it easy to empathize with those who are there now, who must contemplate retirement not because of performance, or even necessarily age, but simply health.
Personally, I do hope that DeCastro decides he is able and willing to continue his career and that he helps to contribute positively to some team this year, as long as it doesn’t adversely affect the Steelers. He deserves to go out on a better note than this.