Anthony Castonzo Rejuvenated, With No Knee Pain, Entering Contract Year
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INDIANAPOLIS – It’s a comment that sounds a bit ridiculous coming from a 30-year-old offensive lineman entering his 9th NFL season.
Particularly one with 116 career starts.
“My body honestly feels better right now than I think it did my rookie year stepping in here,” Castonzo says. “I have less pain everywhere. It’s pretty crazy what they’ve done just making me feel good. It’s exciting. It’s exciting for me to go into a season at age 30 possibly playing my best football.
“For the first time in my career, I just don’t have knee pain right now.”
An offensive linemen, with the resume of Castonzo, saying that?
Yep, that’s how Castonzo feels as he enters a contract year, with his 31st birthday coming later this summer.
A major reason Castonzo has become ‘Benjamin Button’ is thanks to the new strength and conditioning program that the Colts implemented last year.
Veteran strength coach Rusty Jones noticed a change was needed in Castonzo’s approach during last year’s Training Camp.
Castonzo had pulled his hamstring 3 times last offseason, to go along with a pulled pec in the spring.
The durable left tackle had missed just 3 games in the previous 6 seasons, but he would be on the mend for more than a month to start the 2018 campaign.
That’s when Jones and Castonzo decided a change was needed.
At first, Castonzo thought the knee pain he was having was coming from…his knee.
But Jones informed him that the soreness was due to an in-balance in Castonzo’s hips. Unfortunately, it took the hamstring injuries for Castonzo to realize that he needed to alter how he trains.
Some posterior chain exercises with Jones helped Castonzo strengthen his hamstring and those muscles around it.
The result has Castonzo believing that his NFL career has been lengthened.
“If you asked me that a couple of years ago, (I would have said maybe) a couple years, my body is starting to break down,” Castonzo says of how long he thought he would play a few years back.
“(But) my body is starting to feel better now. I talked to Rusty. He said, ‘We might go 10 more years now.’ I’m like, ‘I don’t know about all that. We’ll see.’”
Back for his 9th NFL season, under his 8th offensive line coach, Castonzo has changed his off-season regiment after an injury-filled 2018.
“I don’t lift super heavy right away,” Castonzo says. “I’m kind of letting my body build more of a base and ramp it up a little more. I used to want to be 100 percent and ready to go for that first OTA and playing my best football. That was the world to me because every time I step on the field I want to dominate. Now, I understand that OTAs are part of the process and I want to be playing my best ball come September 8th and then moving forward into the season.
“It’s definitely more of a gradual thing so I’m my strongest, fastest when the season starts.”
Currently, Castonzo’s contract has him in the middle of the pack for left tackle salaries around the league.
One more major pay day should come for him, with the Colts obviously big fans of their long-time left tackle. Castonzo says no future contract talks have occurred with the Colts (just yet). Chris Ballard has mentioned extensions could be possible later this offseason for some guys on his roster.
“Without question, we like Anthony Castonzo,” Ballard said before this year’s draft.
For now, Castonzo isn’t too worried about when, or if, that extension will occur.
“I have to play good football one way or another and everything else takes care of itself,” the left tackle says.
And, if how Castonzo feels right now is any indication, that strong play should be coming this fall.