INDIANAPOLIS – For a second time in 2020, the Colts’ most important player thought about not playing football.
But, thankfully for the Colts (and that’s putting it lightly), Anthony Castonzo is still going to suit up this season.
Castonzo said he took a ‘hard look’ at opting out of the 2020 season, due to COVID, but has made the decision to play for a 10th year.
“I took a hard look at the possibility of opting out,” Castonzo said on Monday, as the Colts began their strength and conditioning part of training camp.
“Obviously, you want to be a part of the solution, not part of the problem. After seeing all the precautions that are in place and after weighing things out, it made sense to go forward with the season and see what happens. We have a good team, it’s an exciting season and something I want to be part of.”
For a guy who just came off a rejuvenated healthy season, playing all 1,077 offensive snaps, and entering his 10th NFL season, you wouldn’t think his annual training camp physical would cause so much anxiety.
But, it’s 2020.
And Castonzo admits he had some apprehension about being around multiple people over the weekend, as the Colts started to welcome veterans back in the building, following three negative COVID tests.
“I’ve been taking this (COVID situation) very seriously from the day the news broke,” Castonzo said on Monday. “My physical the other day was a little stressful for me because it was the first time that I was really around any number of people for like 5 months.
“I’m just going to continue to do that with my family as well. Just mitigate risk as much as possible and hope for the best.”
Instead of opting out—and receiving a $150,000 stipend for the 2020 season—Castonzo will play this year on his $16.5 million contract.
Castonzo said the unusual nature of this offseason had him turning his garage into a weight room, as he couldn’t train like normal at a gym.
One benefit of quarantine life Castonzo found was limited distractions (and going places) meaning he could get an even better handle on his diet. He feels in great shape, with his off-season approach having changed in prior offseason, leading to an invigorated Castonzo, with hardly any knee pain.
The Colts would have been in full-on scramble mode if Castonzo had opted out.
Crisis averted though, for a second time this year.
“Obviously we are all keeping our ear to the ground and seeing how things are progressing,” Castonzo said when asked about COVID. “Because of all the precautions here, with everyone getting tested every day, it’s like you have to count on once you enter this building, it’s kind of a safe zone almost. We still take all the precautions in here of wearing a mask and keeping our distance. We are doing everything we possibly can in the building. I think the biggest thing is just guys doing what they have to do outside of the building.
“Obviously, as cases rise it becomes a little bit more risky outside of the building so people just really have to do what they are supposed to do, do what the CDC is telling us to do and limit risk outside of the building, so this building can remain that safe zone it is and we can move forward with the season.”