PITTSBURGH — Steelers guard David DeCastro made his first appearance at UPMC Rooney Sports Complex in 2019, as he reported to the team’s mandatory minicamp, which started Tuesday morning.
DeCastro missed all three weeks of the Steelers organized team activities on the South Side due to the birth of his child, but the 29-year-old, four-time Pro Bowler was certainly keeping apprised of the goings on during OTAs.
The Steelers’ offensive line is mostly set as a unit, as just right tackle Marcus Gilbert is missing from the group the team possessed a year ago. DeCastro wasn’t worried about the physical play of the offensive line while he was gone.
Instead, the eighth-year guard was hoping that the drama of the early part of the 2018-19 offseason had turned into a more product work environment.
“I think things have changed pretty well around here,” DeCastro said. “Just coming back and seeing it and talking to people, I’m excited, I really am, to just play football.”
The offseason saw the subtraction of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell from the Steelers locker room, and a renewed focus on leadership from returners like Ben Roethlisberger.
“I think everyone is on the same page, more team oriented, and that’s the first step,” he said. “Ben’s always been a great leader to me and I’m excited to play with a guy like that. I have a ton of respect for him. How could you not? He’s one of those guys that you get in the huddle with, he brings you up, because he’s so competitive. I’m just looking forward to getting back on the field with him.”
As for the on-field product, DeCastro said he doesn’t expect the offensive line to miss a beat following Gilbert’s departure, but noted the early date and the amount of work still to go before they can turn in a positive performance.
“It’s still early. The offseason is what it is. I’m excited to get the pads on at training camp and get back to football. It’s obviously been a weird offseason with a lot of things. Just worried about football now.”