The 31-year-old DeCastro had recently been having his ankle evaluated for an injury, according to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, and has “had issues with it for quite some time,” even undergoing surgery for the ailment prior to the 2020 season. A first-round pick of the Steelers back in 2012, the lineman attended but didn’t participate in Pittsburgh’s mandatory minicamp earlier this month. In the wake of his release, per Garafolo, he’s “evaluating his future,” with others speculating retirement could be on the horizon. The Athletic’s Ed Bouchette notes DeCastro also battled an abdominal injury last summer, perhaps all the way into the season.
When healthy, however, DeCastro had long been one of the Steelers’ top linemen, as well as one of the NFL’s best interior blockers. He made his sixth straight Pro Bowl in 2020 and started 124 games for Pittsburgh over nine seasons, also earning three All-Pro nods.
With DeCastro gone, the Steelers are left with only returning starter up front: Fourth-year man Chukwuma Okorafor, who is slated to move from right tackle to left tackle to replace Villanueva. Kevin Dotson, Kendrick Green, Aviante Collins and Zach Banner are among those set to step into starting roles this year. Turner, who made five Pro Bowls with the Panthers from 2015-2019 before one season with the Chargers, could also serve as insurance after visiting the Steelers.