By George Bremer
The Herald Bulletin
ANDERSON, Ind. —
When NFL Network reporter Steve Wyche visited Colts training camp on Monday, he said the No. 1 priority for the team should be signing first-round draft pick Anthony Castonzo.
Less than 24 hours later, the Colts made it happen.
Shortly following the conclusion of Tuesday’s morning practice, Castonzo sent out a tweet saying he was on his way to Anderson and ready for football.
The offensive tackle reportedly signed a four-year, $8 million deal. Only the first three seasons are reported to be guaranteed, representing a victory for the Colts in negotiations.
For his part, the 6-foot-7, 305-pounder from Boston College just seems happy to get on the practice field.
“Thanks to the Colts organization we were able to get this done,” Castonzo said in a team release. “Now I am excited to get into camp and get to work with my teammates. I know there is a lot for me to learn, and I am going to do whatever I can to get on the field.”
Castonzo was true to his word, reporting in time for the 3:30 p.m. practice and taking part in all of the offensive line drills.
His signing comes at an opportune time. Offensive linemen Kyle DeVan, Ryan Diem and Michael Toudouze can’t practice until Thursday under the new collective bargaining agreement. Mike Pollack is out with a hamstring injury, and Jeff Saturday is being rested after playing a key role in resolving the lockout.
Castonzo gives the Colts 10 able practice bodies on the offensive line. But he has missed a day-and-a-half of training camp, and he will be expected to catch up quickly.
“He’s going to have to be a fast learner,” head coach Jim Caldwell said Tuesday morning, before the signing was announced. “He is though, too. He’s a smart guy that I think will catch on rather quickly. But the big thing is you have to get out there on the field and have a chance to see Dwight (Freeney) and Robert (Mathis) rush the passer, trying to pass protect against those guys. But we have probably the best situation for young guys because he’s going to see two guys that know how to throw the fastball. So he’ll get a lot of work.”
Few question Castonzo’s intelligence. He was a bio-chemistry major at Boston College, and he hopes to get into cancer research whenever his playing career ends. He also reportedly scored a 41 on the infamous Wonderlic test given to prospects at the NFL’s scouting combine. A perfect score is 50. The average score for an offensive tackle is 26.
In college, at least, Castonzo’s on-field accomplishments were just as impressive. He was a four-year starter for the Eagles, and his 54 career starts are a school record.
Caldwell said Castonzo was able to meet with the coaches briefly after he was drafted when there was a window open during the lockout. The head coach hadn’t seen him since until Tuesday’s afternoon practice, but he’s wasn’t worried.
“I haven’t seen him, but he’s been around working with the guys throughout the summer,” Caldwell said. “The big thing is he’ll be in here shortly, and we’ll get him caught up.”