Nate Dunlevy speaks with Colts Left Tackle Anthony Castonzo at a community service event.
Like most upwardly mobile young man, Anthony Castonzo rolls in style.
Well, he rolls anyway.
The rookie left tackle appeared at the Fay Biccard Glick Neighborhood Center on the Northwest side of Indianapolis yesterday afternoon to help Verizon recognize the efforts of the venerable community organization. As part of the Verizon Community day, a $1,000 check was presented to the center, and Castonzo read to children and served as a guest instructor for a Zumba class as part of a celebration of the center's efforts in the area. CEO Helen Woods-Lands accepted the honors on behalf of the 25 year-old neighborhood organization. A United Way charity, the Fay Biccard Glick center offers a variety of services to moderate and low income families and depends heavily on support from local churches and schools as well as St. Vincent's.
The 6'7" giant arrived early for the event with the aid of a small cart designed to help support his leg. The cart was originally purchased for Dwight Freeney who tired of using crutches after a surgery and is now passed around to different players who are recovering. Castonzo is recovering from ankle surgery to repair a torn tendon suffered in the early season loss to Tampa Bay. He was operated on just last week, and expects to make a full recovery. He'll begin lower body workouts in another month and a half.
Castonzo is a bright, affable guy who was enthusiastic and comfortable while reading with the children. It was obviously difficult for him to get around, but his effort was well received by the center workers and the children.
Castonzo with Center CEO Helen Woods-Lands
Before the event started, I had a few minutes to ask Castonzo some questions.
Colts Authority: Anthony, before we begin do you know what Zumba is? Because honestly, I don't.
Castonzo: They told me yesterday. My girlfriend was like, did you know you'll be teaching a Zumba class? And I didn't even know what Zumba is! So I looked it up and it's actually like Latin dance mixed with exercise, so I'm pretty excited about that segment.
Colts Authority: So, how are you feeling?
Castonzo: I'm doing good. I'm a week off of surgery, but it's part of the game. I'll be healing up here for a little while, but then I'll get back at it.
Colts Authority: You guys had a pretty good year run blocking. Are you sad to see Coach Metzelaars go?
Castonzo: Yeah, definitely. I talked to him today. He kind of let us know he wouldn't be around. It's sad to see him go, but that's the nature of the beast.
Colts Authority: Anybody you'd like to see brought in? Any old coaches...
Castonzo: I haven't even thought about anything like that. Right now all I can think about is trying to get healthy, all the stuff I have to do.
Colts Authority: How much did the ankle bother you all season?
Castonzo: I got hurt at Tampa Bay, and was out for a few games. When I came back I definitely noticed it. It was definitely bothering me. It's one of those things that you just look forward until you can finally fix it. And it's been fixed, so it's good.
Castonzo reads to the kids. Notice the boot on his left ankle.
Colts Authority: Do you have any offseason goals other than just getting healthy?
Castonzo: I want to improve my overall athleticism. I want to come back next year at the beginning of the year, obviously much better mentally considering I'm no longer a rookie, but I want to be better physically too so I can continue on that upward trend.
Colts Authority: What does that look like...getting better athletically?
Castonzo: A lot of foot quickness stuff. Once I can get to where I can move again, I'm going to do a lot of foot quickness stuff, hip flexibility stuff. Just stuff where it's natural to be low. That's what I'm going to focus on, staying low and making that natural because it will help you in every phase of the game.
Colts Authority: How are you making the transition in your first offseason as a professional. Now football is a job, not to say it's not fun, but how do you make that mental/emotional transition?
Castonzo: It's not really that different. The only thing that's different is that now I'm injured. I haven't been injured my entire career. I was looking forward to this offseason where I could just get after it. I finally had a time where I could focus on just improving myself. Even last year you focus on running the 40 and that kind of stuff. Where as this year, I finally had an offseason where I'd be able to just work on getting better at football. But then this happened so that's a little frustrating. But it's still the same game and it's still fun.
Colts Authority: Any thoughts on reading to the kids?
Castonzo: I'm really excited! I hope it's a book with multiple characters so I can use different voices! I'm looking forward to doing voices. I actually read in one of my cousin's preschool class. It was Go Dog, Go! That was a solid performance. I hope I can match that one here.
Castonzo and the kids were enthusiastic.
Tony: AKA Oregano's guy!!! Hope the healing is progressing ahead of schedule. I'll miss seeing you this spring and summer at good old LZCHS, I left there this past month. Miss seeing your mom and sister now that they are no longe in the restraunt business. Get well, and have a great year.
Your old friend....Grounds Guy
@18to88 Great interview Nate. Who snapped the photos?
kid needs to hit the weight room hard
good kid though. hopefully he can improve on his rookie season. it was obvious that his ankle never really healed
FYI... Mike Chappell's "Ask the Experts" today, I highly recommend reading. Kevin from Atlanta, Ga presents a series of questions that every Colts fan would like to have answered. Chap even admits as much and does his best to answer them although he freely acknowledges his answers are lacking.
Thanks for bringing us this story, Nate. It was a very nice interview, very considerate on your part, and quite human in its simplicity on Castonzo´s side.
I'm a hittin' the likey button on the story and the posters who supported the story. Agreed! With all of the mayhem going on, it's nice to hear about the people side. Also, I've always loved the community spirit of the Colts, and it starts with Irsay.
Nate, I thank you for your vision in this interview. You talked about the service he was doing, and you talked about his football performance. Thank you for not doing what so many do when they interview a member of the Colts, and focus the interview on things they have no control over and that make them feel like they are not part of the team. I am so glad that there was no questions about his opinion of Manning/Luck, no statements about Grigson, Polian, or Irsay, because these questions are so much better!
@mattshedd Thanks. That was very much my intention. I wasn't going to ask him about Peyton or Rob Lowe.
And this is the sort of story that rarely makes the normal sports news. It's all either agitprop, accusations, or gossip. Not straight out this-is-how-a-pro-athlete-serves-his-community.
Sure, these stories aren't really that exciting. And worse yet, some of them (not this one!) would probably be self serving "Loot At Me!" type events more to boost the athlete's public persona than anything else. But a large majority of them would be honest service. And that's why they should be highlighted, even if only as brief mentions.
This is a good thing. And it's also why Indianapolis is lucky to have the Colts, rather than a less caring organization with less feelings of responsibility to the community, in their midst.
Castanzo is turning into one of my favorite young Colts. I loved the pick and it did seem he never fully recovered from the ankle injury. This just confirms that theory. I expect big things from him. Seriously, he's 6'7 300+ and has a six pack, I mean seriously. Very, very bright too.
@DougEngland I suspect nearly every player in the NFL plays with injuries like this. The NFL is a brutal job and it would be nearly impossible not to have these sorts of injuries occurring regularly. Mark Schlereth played o-line for 12 years and had something like 17 surgeries.
Not that I disagree with your overall point, just don't think this particular injury seems out of bounds for an average NFL player.
@kasey_junk I was really just echoing Kyle Rodriguez's comment. Probably should have just "liked" his comment.
As an aside, I'm not sure it's fair to compare Castonzo to Saturday. They're different people, and that's completely okay. But seeing interactions like this seems like it will help the mourning of Saturday whenever he does retire (this year or later).
Haha love it! Thanks for doing this, and thanks to Castonzo for interacting and being involved with the community.
Awesome interview Nate. Glad to hear that the ankle *was* bothering him during the second half of the season. That makes his slight decline more understandable. The Colts' penchant for injuries is unsettling though... all of the top three picks had major injuries this season, even though none had any real injury history (that I can find anyway). What kind of luck is that!?