Castonzo announces retirement after injury-filled season

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INDIANAPOLIS — Anthony Castonzo, the Indianapolis Colts longtime left tackle, announced his retirement Tuesday.

The 32-year-old had been an anchor on Indy's offensive line since he was the No. 22 overall draft pick in 2011.

His decision came three days after the Colts were eliminated from the playoffs with a 27-24 wild-card round loss at Buffalo and less than two weeks after he had season-ending ankle surgery.

The move was not a complete surprise. Castonzo considered retiring last year, but eventually agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Colts. But this season, the Illinois native and Boston College alum missed four regular-season games and the playoff game with rib, knee and ankle injuries.

“As a kid, it was my dream to play in the NFL," Castonzo said in a statement released by the team. “I played my first full season of tackle football in second grade. Now I have played my last. As I sit here now, after a 10-year NFL career, I am extremely proud of all the hard work and sacrifice that allowed me to evolve that dream into a goal, and ultimately into a reality unlike anything I could have even imagined."

Castonzo was scheduled to speak to reporters later Tuesday.

Indy took Castonzo with the No. 22 overall draft pick in 2011.

He leaves after starting 144 regular-season games and eight playoff games while blocking for a group of quarterbacks that included Andrew Luck, Philip Rivers, Jacoby Brissett, Matt Hasselbeck and Dan Orlovsky. He also was a teammate of Peyton Manning as a rookie in 2011 though Manning missed that entire season with a neck injury. Manning was released by the Colts in March 2012.

Coach Frank Reich said Sunday that he and general manager Chris Ballard had already discussed possible options for replacing Castonzo when he suffered the ankle injury last month in practice. One potential solution — sliding three-time All-Pro left guard Quenton Nelson to tackle.

“Chris and I have already had that conversation obviously when A.C. got hurt," Reich said. “It was like, ‘Hey, well let’s take a look at Quenton, maybe that’s a real option.’ That would certainly be an option but like every other decision, you have to look at all options and consider all factors.”

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Michael Marot, The Associated Press