OWINGS MILLS, Md, —Ravens undrafted rookie Trystan Colon-Castillo had a daunting assignment for his first extended NFL action.
With both Matt Skura and Pat Mekari on the reserve/COVID-19 list, Colon-Castillo started at center Week 12 against the Pittsburgh Steelers' fierce front seven and played well enough to be a part of the rotation moving forward.
"[I’m] feeling really blessed just to be in this opportunity," Colon-Castillo said. "Obviously, there was a lot of emotion earlier in the week. A lot of unknowns, and we didn’t really understand what was going on, but we knew the game was going to happen at some point, so not just me, but my teammates, were helping me prepare and get ready.
"I’m really blessed and thankful just to be able to have this opportunity and play with these men and to be coached by these coaches. I’m just really happy to be a part of this organization.”
Colon-Castillo was a three-year starter at center for Missouri where he was lauded for his leadership, strength, and durability. He started the final 38 games of his career before declaring early for the 2020 NFL Draft.
Colon-Castillo started all 12 games in 2019 and was part of an offensive line that allowed just 6.08 tackles for a loss and 2.25 sacks per game. He was the team’s 2017 Team Underclassman Leadership Award recipient and earned SEC All-Freshman honors that season.
He made the most of his first opportunity in Baltimore, playing every snap in 19-14 loss against Pittsburgh. Colon-Castillo also made a key block on a 1-yard touchdown by Gus Edwards that gave the Ravens a 7-6 lead.
The performance was not lost on his teammates.
Trystan did an amazing job communicating and making sure we were right on our assignments to make sure we were going to the right spots," left guard Bradley Bozeman said. "We kind of roll through centers in practice just for these reasons. And so, we were very prepared with him coming in. Like I said, he did a great job communicating and making sure everyone was doing their job, and he did his job very well, also. We’re down a lot of guys right now."
Colon-Castillo certainly gained the confidence of Ravens coach John Harbaugh. Baltimore plays Dallas on Tuesday, Dec. 8, and Colon-Castillo might have a chance to showcase his skills once again.
"Trystan ... I thought he played a solid game. I thought he did a good job," Harbaugh said. "There are plays that he’d like back, certainly, but for his first start ever, he was good in there.”