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Indianapolis Colts LT Anthony Castonzo retires after 10 NFL seasons, 144 starts

INDIANAPOLIS – Colts starting left tackle Anthony Castonzo has decided to retire after playing 10 seasons in the NFL, he announced Tuesday.

“As a kid, it was my dream to play in the NFL. I played my first full season of second-class tackle football,” Castonzo said in a statement. “Now I’ve played my last. As I sit here now, after a 10-year NFL career, I’m very proud of all the hard work and sacrifice that enabled me to develop that dream into a goal and in ultimately to a reality unlike anything else I could have even imagined it. “

Castonzo, a first-round pick in the 2011 draft, started all 144 games he played in his career. The Colts were 4-1

3 in the games he missed in his career.

“If you would have told me after [rookie] training camp that I wanted a 10-year career, I would have laughed in your face, “Castonzo said during a video news conference with journalists.

He said his decision to retire is final.

“I made the decision. I stick to it,” he said.

Castonzo flirted with retirement after the 2019 season, but decided to postpone it. He signed a two-year contract with the Colts in the winter of 2020, but he said at the time that he planned to take his playing status year on year.

Injuries claimed Castonzo this season. He missed four games due to knee and ankle injuries. The Colts announced on December 30 that Castonzo would miss the rest of the regular season and then their playoff game against Buffalo, which they lost due to ankle surgery.

However, he said Monday that his injuries this season did not play a role in his decision to retire.

“The Colts have been blessed with many talented offensive linemen throughout our rich history, and Anthony Castonzo is among the best to represent the horseshoe,” Colts owner Jim Irsay said in a statement. “For 10 seasons, Anthony consistently handled Premier Passers in one of the toughest positions to play. He quickly evolved to be the leader of our offensive line and set a standard for preparation, strength and conditioning and play. Anthony deserves a huge amount of credit “to help our offensive line mature into one of the best units in the NFL. He will be greatly missed, but we are so grateful for AC’s contribution to our organization, and we congratulate him on a great career.”

The Colts might look to have taken advantage of a misunderstanding between the home side’s goalie and center left. Coach Frank Reich said guard Quenton Nelson, who has been an All-Pro in the position for all three years he has been in the NFL, is an option. Nelson, who had never played left tackle in his NFL career, played a few snaps there against the Las Vegas Raiders on December 13th.

“[Nelson] as an option out there is certainly a realistic option which – [GM Chris Ballard] and I already had that conversation openly when AC was injured, “Reich said earlier this week. It was like, ‘Hey, let’s look at Quenton, maybe that’s a real possibility.’ I will let Chris go into more detail on that when he comes along [the media] on Thursday. But yes, it would definitely be an option, but like any other decision, you need to look at all the options and consider all the factors. “

Castonzo said he talks to former Colts quarterback Andrew Luck, who retired before the 2019 season, regularly when asked on Monday what his playing career will be like.

“We are still good friends. I asked him, ‘How are you?’ But I definitely relied on him because he has been through it, ”he said.

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