David DeCastro’s ankle gives the Steelers another possible injury-report problem

Divisional Round - Jacksonville Jaguars v Pittsburgh Steelers
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In 2019, the sudden implosion of Ben Roethlisberger‘s elbow got the Steelers and coach Mike Tomlin in hot water for not disclosing that Roethlisberger had an elbow injury. In 2021, the Steelers could be facing another injury-reporting problem.

Guard David DeCastro, released this week by the team, admits that he had bone spurs in his ankle throughout the 2020 season. The injury reports say otherwise.

“I have to get surgery on my ankle a third time,” DeCastro said Thursday. “I tried to fix it last year but the bone spurs kept coming back. It nagged me pretty bad all last year.”

According to the injury reports, DeCastro missed three games last year, two for a knee injury and one due to an abdominal problem. He never appeared on the injury report with an ankle issue.

And it definitely was an issue. Consider his Friday comments to Jim Colony of 93.7 The Fan: “Last year it bothered me. Not only is it painful but it’s hard to play on when you feel like you’re playing half-legged.”

The team’s decision to release DeCastro with a non-football injury designation seemed odd when it happened, given that it appeared that DeCastro’s lingering ankle issues trace directly to football. The team’s effort to characterize the injury as something that happened between the end of the 2020 season and Thursday makes sense, however, to the extent that the Steelers don’t want to get in trouble again with the league office over the question of hiding injuries.

Most if not all teams take liberties with their injury reports. Some are more aggressive than others. And the league rarely takes action, presumably because the league prefers not to highlight the fact that corruption and cheating run rampant throughout the NFL.

It’s an issue that the league needs to deal with sooner than later, however. As legalized gambling continues to spread, eventually a politician and/or a prosecutor will start poking around. These chronic issues with injury-reporting irregularities — hiding in plain sight — could be the impetus for a scandal that the league will wish it had taken meaningful action to avoid.

23 responses to “David DeCastro’s ankle gives the Steelers another possible injury-report problem

  1. Pittsburgh legacy is flush with sidestepping the rules. Usually they at least win a few playoff games, though…

  2. Maybe I don’t understand how the injury reports work. You have to report practice participation during the week and then likelihood of playing at week’s end. You don’t have to report every nagging pain if it doesn’t impact participation in practice or the game, right?

  3. The problem resides with the doctors; they are hired by the team but treat the players – direct conflict of interest. Th team wants the player on the field, the oath a doctor takes supposedly puts their patients first.

    Jim McMahon nearly died from internal injuries, but the doc said just a bruise during the game. Pain killers, looking the other way, false reporting has been a way of life in the league for a long time – slowly, with stories like these and others, this practice will eventually die.

    The article is correct, once gambling/odds-makers get fully involved, there will be investigations for teams not fully disclosing “correctly” their injury report list.

  4. A patchwork OL and a QB who runs a 45 second 40. Stick a fork in yins Steelers!

  5. Bone spurs IS NOT AN INJURY.

    It’s just extra calcium build up on bones. We ALL get it, just some more than others. It’s like saying you can’t play football anymore because of age. Doesn’t mean “age” is an injury either.

  6. Maybe I don’t understand how the injury reports work. You have to report practice participation during the week and then likelihood of playing at week’s end. You don’t have to report every nagging pain if it doesn’t impact participation in practice or the game, right?
    ——————————————————-
    You’re correct, you don’t understand how the injury report works. The full policy (7 page downloadable Word doc) is on the NFL’s football operations website but the relevant part is below, copied from the page with the link to the full policy.

    The Practice Report provides clubs and fans with an accurate description of a player’s injury status and how much he participated in practice during the week. If any player has a significant or noteworthy injury, it must be listed on the practice report, even if he fully participates in practice and the team expects that he will play in the team’s next game. This is especially important for key players whose injuries may be covered extensively by the media.

  7. Bone spurs IS NOT AN INJURY.

    It’s just extra calcium build up on bones. We ALL get it, just some more than others. It’s like saying you can’t play football anymore because of age. Doesn’t mean “age” is an injury either.
    ———————————————————
    Haha, good try, I respect the effort. Reminds me of Costanza’s “Was that wrong?” logic.

  8. They are the league’s owner. Nothing happens or doesn’t happen without a Rooney nod.

    They cheated the cap in ‘95 and nothing happened. Tomlin cheated on the field to stop a TD and nothing happened. They have been one of the Cheating Six for years ever since Goodell took over.

    In fact, that is one of the reasons Roethlisberger was kept out of jail and barely punished.

    Who knows what elee they’ve been behind.

  9. riggo08 says:
    June 26, 2021 at 9:32 am
    A patchwork OL and a QB who runs a 45 second 40. Stick a fork in yins Steelers!

    8 8 Rate This

    ——————

    It’s “yinz,” get it right clown…

  10. People say the same thing about the Steelers every year but there they are winning the division like they did last year. Lol.

  11. “You don’t have to report every nagging pain if it doesn’t impact participation in practice or the game, right?”

    Wrong. You do have to report anything.

    In 2002 I think it was Bill Belichick was fined 50k for not reporting a tiny maybe 1/8″ cut on a receiver’s hand that he got from his windshield wiper cleaning snow off his car. Could not possibly have effected his performance yet the league fined him and the team as well.

    This is also why Bill reports any type of ouchie gotten by a player in any way almost to a ludicrous level.

  12. touchback6 says:
    June 26, 2021 at 9:54 am
    They are the league’s owner. Nothing happens or doesn’t happen without a Rooney nod.

    They cheated the cap in ‘95 and nothing happened. Tomlin cheated on the field to stop a TD and nothing happened. They have been one of the Cheating Six for years ever since Goodell took over.

    In fact, that is one of the reasons Roethlisberger was kept out of jail and barely punished.

    Who knows what elee they’ve been behind.
    ===============
    Tomlin was fined $250,000 for impeding the returned. That amounted to approximately 5% of his salary. Interesting that you consider that “nothing.”

    Roethlisberger was not charged because of a lack of enough evidence to for the probability of a conviction, and what was likely a nice settlement. He was suspended for 4 games (originally 6) and therefore lost almost 24% of his salary (4 weeks out of 17). Again, interesting what you consider “barely punished.”

    Never let facts get in the way of a rant against the team that apparently lives in your head, which is odd considering the Pats pretty much owned the Steelers over the past couple of decades.

  13. Just wondering how this compares to Brady’s sudden knee issues? Crickets about him and the Bucs…..why?

  14. Incidents of shady dealings sure seem to be piling up for this “class” organization. Regardless of the “spin”, it seems to be a pretty sketchy way to treat a guy who played at a high level for you for almost a decade. This is absolutely a football related issue, so by releasing him saying it wasn’t is taking money out of a good man’s pocket. Besides skirting the rules Steelers, it’s just not cool.

  15. Just wondering how this compares to Brady’s sudden knee issues? Crickets about him and the Bucs…..why?
    ——————————————-
    On 6/9 there was a story here about it, just search the site for “Tom Brady knee”

  16. Certainly not a fan of the Steelers organization at all but even I can’t imagine they would be this emboldened. This sounds more like a case of deCastro trying to rewrite history to get a few more bucks

  17. What I think is weak is that the Steelers appear to be claiming the bone spurs are some sort of off-season injury in releasing him with an off season injury designation, which everyone knows is complete bullcrap. Bone spurs don’t just appear from falling in the shower, off a skateboard or a game of hoops – they’re repetitive use related. If this is really true, all that Rooney we are family preaching is just lip service.

  18. Bone spurs vs Age as the example of an injury… bone spurs that cause pain and reduce the effectiveness of a player, enough to require surgery isn’t an injury? Further, these bone spurs occurred during seasons of play, likely treated game to game with pain killers so he could get on the field.

    Age on the other hand is a fact of life, yeah it can be painful, but surgery can’t fix age, just mask it cosmetically – the age is still the age.

    Full on; after ALL DeCastro has done for the Steelers, to be booted and have to pay his own way for his “NFI” surgery and rehab, obviously sustained through years of play with documented occurrences over his NFL career – is a pretty low down move by the Steelers.

  19. DeCastro has made millions and has a degree from Stanford he’s going to be fine. He may need to go Mark Bavaro and get some cadaver parts to fix that ankle if he wants to extend his career.

  20. Some teams appear to follow this rule, and a few certain ones don’t seem to when they feel like it. At some point a penalty of note will be handed out on this but until then id expect GMs to tell us what they like not what they’re supposed to.

  21. He must be retiring. Who would sign him now that he needs ankle surgery? Why did he not do it during the last 5+ months?

  22. He didn’t appear on the injury report last season because he had the surgery and thought he would play through it and fully recover, and likely never disclosed that he was still having problems. So the Steelers can’t report what they don’t know, from their standpoint their was likely no ankle issues that they were made aware of. Much ado about nothing.

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