INDIANAPOLIS — After battling injuries in his 10th season and being unable to finish the year, offensive left tackle Anthony Castonzo announced his retirement on Tuesday.
The team released a statement in which Castonzo thanked the team, his teammates, family, and fans for their support in his career.
Castonzo finished the season on injured reserve due to ankle and knee injuries that sidelined him for five games, including the Colts’ 27-24 AFC Wild Card Playoff loss at Buffalo.
Castonzo, 32, entered the NFL out of Boston College as the 22nd overall selection in 2011. At the time, then-president/general manager Bill Polian said he was surprised that Castonzo was still available in the first round. The 6-7, 307-pound lineman from Hawthorn Woods, Ill., was excited to have the opportunity to block for legendary quarterback Peyton Manning.
But that didn’t happen. Manning spent the 2011 season on injured reserve and was eventually released in the offseason. Castonzo started 12 games as a rookie and proved himself as a legitimate left tackle.
He started all 144 games of his career and became a reliable anchor to the O-line, although he rarely received recognition. Castonzo was a Pro Bowl alternate for 2019, the first time he had ever received a sniff for that honor. He missed 17 games due to injuries in his career.
Castonzo considered retirement after the 2019 season before deciding to return. He signed a two-year, $33-million contract, including $17 million guaranteed. But the deal was front-loaded, which means the Colts won’t have any dead cap money counting toward the cap and will gain an extra $16 million.
Perhaps the most memorable play was when he caught a touchdown pass from Andrew Luck in 2014, then celebrated with a squatting, flat-footed jumping jack.
"It was the Dhalsim from Street Fighter 2,” Castonzo said of his scoring dance, in reference to a video game.
The Colts released statements from Castonzo, owner Jim Irsay, general manager Chris Ballard, and head coach Frank Reich.
"As a kid, it was my dream to play in the NFL. I played my first full season of tackle football in second grade. Now I have played my last. As I sit here now, after a 10-year NFL career, I am extremely proud of all the hard work and sacrifice that allowed me to evolve that dream into a goal, and ultimately into a reality unlike anything I could have even imagined.
“More than anything, I want to thank everyone who supported me along the way, especially those who believed in me during times when I did not believe in myself. So thank you to the GMs who believed in me. Thank you to all the coaches who have taught me so much in my 25 total years of football. Thank you to the fans who are so dedicated to the game we all love. Thank you to my teammates who have become friends and those who I now call brothers. Thank you to all the strength coaches, trainers, and medical staff who gave me the blueprint to build (and sometimes rebuild) myself into the best player I could be. Thanks to all the support staff who helped make my daily work experience a joyous one. And thank you to my family, who is every one of these things and so much more.
“I was fortunate to have been drafted by the Colts 10 years ago. I was even more fortunate to spend my entire career here in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Colts is a special organization with special ownership who fill the organization with special people at every level. I truly believe this is the best organization in all of sports. I am lucky to have been able to call myself a Colt for the past ten years and will consider myself a Colt for the rest of my life.
“I have given much to the game of football, but it has given me so much more. I close the book on the football chapter of my life gifted with memories and moments I wouldn't trade for anything. So thank you, last but far from least, to football."
Owner & CEO Jim Irsay
"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. For 10 seasons, Anthony consistently handled premier pass rushers at one of the toughest positions to play. He quickly developed into the leader of our offensive line and set a standard for preparation, strength and conditioning, and play. Anthony deserves a tremendous amount of credit for helping our offensive line mature into one of the best units in the NFL. He will sorely be missed, but we are so appreciative of AC's contribution to our organization and we congratulate him on a fantastic career.”
GM Chris Ballard
"Anthony was a pillar of this team for the last 10 seasons. He played one of the toughest positions in the game at an extremely high level for a long time. Anthony was a veteran leader in our locker room and will be greatly missed. We're thankful for all of his contributions to the Horseshoe. We love AC and know he will thrive in the next stage of his life.”
Head coach Frank Reich
"I was an assistant coach with the Colts when Anthony was selected in the first round of the 2011 NFL draft. From day one, I knew he would be a special player. Anthony has a brilliant mind and he was a technician both on the field and in film study. He is a tremendous leader who put as much energy in making his teammates better as he did improving his own game. I'm thankful for the opportunity to watch him grow as a professional from the start of his career to the end. I wish him the best in his post-football career.”