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Steelers happy to see DeCastro gain Pro Bowl nod selection

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PITTSBURGH (AP) David DeCastro's injury-filled rookie season is a distant memory.

The Pittsburgh Steelers guard earned his first Pro Bowl selection this year, serving as the cerebral anchor of a line missing center Maurkice Pouncey and left tackle Kelvin Beachum.

DeCastro was one of the three Steelers selected to the Pro Bowl on Tuesday night, along with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and wide receiver Antonio Brown.

Roethlisberger said Wednesday he was as excited for DeCastro getting the chance to make the trip to Honolulu - provided the Steelers do not participate in the Super Bowl the following week - as he was about becoming the first quarterback in franchise history to earn four Pro Bowl selections.

''That's awesome,'' Roethlisberger said. ''Every team, every player, everybody's got their snubs or whoever you think should have gone, but to have David go for his first time I think is just great.''

The Steelers had high hopes for DeCastro when they selected him in the first round in 2012 from Stanford. They were thrilled he was still available while picking 24th.

However, he was limited to four games in his rookie season after knee surgery in preseason, when he tore a medical collateral ligament and dislocated a kneecap. Since then, DeCastro has been a constant and started 48 consecutive games.

''You have to be consistent when you play on the offensive line,'' DeCastro said. ''That's the name of the game.''

DeCastro has not only been consistent but helped hold together the line for an offense that has thrived despite the injuries up front. The Steelers have scored at least 30 points in a franchise-record six consecutive games. Their 27-point average this season ranks fifth. They are also second in total offense with an average of 402.9 yards a game, trailing only Arizona (422.9).

The offensive surge has helped the Steelers (9-5) win five of six games and take control of their playoff fate. They would qualify for the postseason by winning their last two regular-season games: Sunday at Baltimore (4-10) and at Cleveland (3-11) on Jan. 3.

Roethlisberger appreciates how much DeCastro has meant to the offense in what has been his breakout season.

''It's something we expected,'' Roethlisberger said. ''We've seen it, just his hard work, his tenacity; he can run block, he can pass block. He's very smart, technically sound and finishes every play, so I think other teams and other defensive linemen and linebackers have given him the ultimate honor by voting (him to the Pro Bowl).''

Roethlisberger, meanwhile, gained a Pro Bowl nod despite missing four games in October with a knee injury. He has passed for 3,369 yards and 18 touchdowns in 10 games.

''Typically, you don't get honors when you miss time, but because we've had such a good group around me, wide receivers, running backs, tight ends and then the way the line has played,'' Roethlisberger said of why he was voted in. ''That's why I say it's an awesome individual honor, but it's more than individual, it's this whole offense that's honored in our Pro Bowl selections.''

Brown was picked to his fourth Pro Bowl. His 1,586 receiving yards lead the league and his 116 receptions are second, two behind the Falcons' Julio Jones. Brown has also scored 10 touchdowns, including one on a punt return.

''He's obviously a very deserving Pro Bowl player and all the accolades that come his way are deserving,'' Roethlisberger said.

NOTES: S Mike Mitchell (shoulder) was the only player who did not practice Wednesday because of injury reasons. . CB William Gay and LB James Harrison were given the day off.


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