DeCastro Acknowledges Pouncey’s Injury Was A Big Mental Hurdle

Pittsburgh Steelers 2012 first-round draft pick David DeCastro had a steep hurdle to climb in his rookie season when he and fellow offensive lineman Marcus Gilbert collided during a preseason game, which resulted in DeCastro tearing his ACL. He ended up missing most of the year, coming back for just the last three games to play right guard.

DeCastro had another injury hurdle to climb in his second year, but this time it wasn’t his own knee: it was Maurkice Pouncey’s knee.

On just the eighth snap of the Steelers’ season, the play call was an outside zone run to the left. DeCastro dove to take out a defender, but he ended up taking out his friend’s knee instead. Pouncey suffered a torn ACL and missed essentially the entire season.

DeCastro admitted yesterday to Teresa Varley that it affected him for a while during the year. He beat himself up over it, but he knew ultimately that he had to let it go and that he had to play his best to make up for it.

It was tough. It was real tough at first especially when you had something to do with it. It took me a while to recoup from that mentally, reset myself, refocus and know we still have some football there, you still have to play the games. I learned a lot about myself, had a lot of growing up to do. I thought the best thing I could do to make up for losing Pouncey was to play the best that I could, play the best football I could to help the team win.

I beat myself up. I think anyone would in that situation. At the same time I did that and then let it go. I had to. I knew if I kept beating myself up I would be doing more harm than good and just making things worse.

A big part of helping him let it go was Pouncey reaching out to him and assuring him that all was well and that accidents happen. That was a big step, surely: a player who the Steelers expect to be their best offensive lineman yet missing most of his rookie season accidentally taking out their leader on the offensive line and a three-time All-Pro.

That was a key leadership moment for Pouncey, who is now entering the final season of his rookie contract. He and DeCastro are expected to make up the heart and soul of that offensive line for the next decade or so. We will finally see the beginnings of that nucleus this season. And Pouncey being there for DeCastro despite being the cause of his injury, while not surprising, probably helped both of them get through last season.

The injury I had was an accident. Nobody can fault anyone for that. If I would have done the same thing to him I would hope he would have called me and told me everything is okay, you are my brother and I love you the same way. Things happen. That is how the conversation went.

If I did that to someone else I would hope they would call me and make me feel comfortable. I know he had to play the next couple of weeks and that is hard to do after something like that. He handled it the right way and he played great last year.

Passionate Steelers fan with a bit of writing ability. Connoisseur of loud music. Follow me on Twitter @mmarczi.
  • Callentown

    I still don’t understand that play. He missed the block by so much, I’ve always wondered what the heck happened. Never seen anything like it in 40 years of watching football.

  • dkoy85

    I like this line as a whole. Band of brothers- now stay healthy and open some holes!

  • Steve

    When you play, things happen, and they did in this case. Just got to go on and not let it happen again. Never forget because History has a way of repeating.

  • Dupree

    He actually ran the block correctly.

    If you watch the play, it was an outside Zone to the left, Pouncey was supposed to disengage from the Defensive tackle, and head to the second level and grab a linebacker, or whatever was unblocked there.

    DeCastro, is supposed to at the same time of the disengaging block, cut block the knees of the DT (which is something players hate because of the injury risk, Kiesel was livid)

    However, at the point where Pouncey was supposed to disengage from the blocker, if you watch instead of him getting off, he gets stood up and cant disengage.

    Which is what lead to that

  • SteelerDave

    This may not be a popular reply but Pouncey has come from running with some real characters and promoting and defending them. He may be talented and I have nothing against him just he better have grown the heck up. Perhaps him getting hurt and seeing his buddies have their issues has helped grow him from a boy to a man. I sure hope so.

  • TJ Judson

    Yeah… except that DeCastrator was soo damn slow it was a desperation move. He was 4 feet from the spot and was diving like a maniac to get the cut block. Best case with Pouncy disengaging properly, would’ve been a DeCastro whiff

  • PA2AK

    I think you’re correct. Still, Dave certainly showed his inexperience with the technique…still needed to keep his head up and know where his target is.

  • PA2AK

    the defender would have been a lot closer to DeCastro had Pouncey done his job. He didn’t get a good jump off the ball, but its obviously a lot different looking at it live vs. the replays.

  • Callentown

    I hear you Dupree and it was the first time the line had tried to execute that play. Thanks for that explanation.

    However, if DeCastro is LOOKING, he doesn’t come close to Pouncey, who was a few feet from DeCastro’s intended blocker and directly in DeCastro’s view.

    Unreal.

  • Callentown

    Even the RTs dkoy?

  • dkoy85

    The potential of them under Munchak yes…as for past play… hell no

  • Callentown

    Man, I don’t see Adams being anything more than a goal line blocker on running plays and Gilbert wore skates both years, hurt or not.

    To me, the weakest part of the offense by far.

  • dkoy85

    No doubt its the weakest position on the O. They have one more year to prove their worth.

  • richard

    Make cut blocking illegal , then these types of injuries can be minimized.

  • Brendon Glad

    I beat him up for it too…and I don’t feel bad about it. But what I feel GOOD about was how he played after that, showing that the clumsiness of that play was a fluke, not a pattern. And that there are no hard feelings between the 2, eliminating the theory that perhaps it was mal-intended. I’m glad everyone is moving forward. So I am too.