Steelers Offensive Line 'Enjoying' Time Left With Aging Starters, Quarterback

Noah Strackbein

PITTSBURGH -- David DeCastro steered 2019 Steelers questions in a different direction than usual when speaking with media Monday. 

The All-Pro right guard didn't point to any specific part of the offense for their struggles last year. Instead, he explained how the group couldn't function because no pieces were clicking enough to get any momentum moving. 

"Last year sucked, I already forgot about it," DeCastro told media on a Zoom call. "It was not fun to play as an offensive. It was pretty terrible." 

2020 rings optimism, though. The Steelers are excited about the season ahead and all because of the return of their quarterback. 

Ben Roethlisberger has been the most prominent topic in Pittsburgh since the team returned for training camp. The 17-year veteran has been described as "different." Tight end Vance McDonald said on a phone call with fans that he's "never seen Seven like this." 

DeCastro agreed.

"He seems kind of lighter. Positive attitude and kind of happier," he said. "I think the biggest thing with Ben is not that he's just a talented player in his own right, it's what he does for the people around him. The ego, the ability to make you play better, force you to play better because he expects it. It's similar to [Maurkice] Pouncey in a way that true leaders aren't just good players on their own, you have to have that ability. They demand your best when they're out there and you fall in line. That's a true leader and he has that presence in the huddle. He expects the best from you, he expects you not to lose. 

"The more I've been around him over the years, he's always had that. I think that's whats part of what makes him great. He seems happy, lighter on his feet, just having a good time, happy to be out here. I'm sure it was tough being hurt for year and missing it. That's not easy on your mental health. "

The Steelers offensive line is aging as quickly as Roethlisberger. Before the Philadelphia Eagles signed Jason Peters, Pittsburgh was the oldest starting five in the NFL. 

Therefore, the clock is ticking for players like DeCastro and Roethlisberger. An understanding these players have and are using as motivation for the upcoming year.

"I'm not ready to be done quite yet," DeCastro said. "I'm getting there, but I still enjoy it, enjoy the routine and coming to work with these guys, [Maurkice] Pouncey and Al [Villanueva]. The group's kind of fading away. You guys always ask every year, "Do you guys appreciate what you've got on the o-line?" We really have. The light's coming at the end of the tunnel."

But while there's still time, they're staying positive.

"We're all enjoying it," DeCastro said. "We all know we're old. It might be Al [Villanueva's] last year, Pouncey and I are getting old too. Who knows what's going to happen. I think we're all trying to enjoy it the most we can."

Noah Strackbein is a Publisher with AllSteelers. Follow Noah on Twitter @NoahStrack, and AllSteelers @si_steelers.

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