Tagged in: thursday

Pittsburgh Steelers release guard David DeCastro, agree to terms with Trai Turner

The Pittsburgh Steelers revealed on Thursday that they released six-time Pro Bowl guard David DeCastro.

DeCastro was released with a non-football injury designation.

The Steelers later agreed to terms with former Pro Bowl guard Trai Turner on a one-year deal, his agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The 31-year-old DeCastro has been fighting ankle issues and is evaluating whether surgery is required, a source told ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler, adding that retirement is a strong option for him.

He didn’t participate in minicamp recently. When asked a week ago regarding DeCastro, coach Mike Tomlin said, “If I thought injury circumstances or reasons why people were not participating were significant, I would share them with you.”

DeCastro was in the final year of his contract with a $14.2 million cap hit. Releasing him saves the Steelers $8.75 million in cap space. He was the Steelers’ first-round pick (24th overall) in the 2012 draft.

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“David was without a doubt one of the premier offensive linemen during his time with us,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in a statement.

“He helped us win a lot of football games, but it was David’s consistency, reliability and professionalism that stood out more than anything else. We wish him the best moving forward in his career.”

DeCastro missed the first two matches of 2020 with lingering knee issues but appeared in 13 of Pittsburgh’s final 14 games.

With DeCastro’s release, the Steelers will have one returning starter on the offensive line: Chukwuma Okorafor, who is likely moving from last season’s spot on the right side to left tackle. Kevin Dotson also started for DeCastro a few times last season, but he’s slated to be the left guard.

The Los Angeles Chargers released Turner in March after first attempting to trade him. Turner, 28, was limited to nine games last season because of a groin injury, but he said recently he was “back at 100 percent.”

Turner had no guaranteed money left on a four-year, $45 million extension he signed with the Carolina Panthers in 2017. Turner was selected to five Pro Bowls in his first six NFL seasons. Chosen in the third round of the 2014 draft by Carolina, he has played in 93 career games with 89 starts.

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons both ruled out Thursday due to COVID-19 contact tracing

The Philadelphia 76ers stated Tuesday that All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons would both miss Thursday’s game versus the Chicago Bulls — and that Simmons will miss Friday’s game versus the Washington Wizards — due to the same contact tracing that kept both of them from participating in Sunday’s All-Star Game in Atlanta.

Presuming both continue to test negative for COVID-19 — as they have so far — Embiid will be eligible to return for Friday night’s game versus Washington, while Simmons will be able to return Sunday at home against the San Antonio Spurs.

Both players were pulled out of Sunday’s All-Star Game after having come in contact with a barber in Philadelphia who later tested positive for COVID-19.

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The NBA had strict quarantines for everyone involved with the league’s midseason showcase, however, and the two players were able to depart from Atlanta later in the day and return to Philadelphia.

They were the only two people involved with the game who had any issues with either a positive test or contact tracing over the weekend.

The Sixers ended the first half of the campaign with the best record in the Eastern Conference, a half-game ahead of the Brooklyn Nets. They will practice Wednesday night ahead of returning to the court in Chicago on Thursday.

Embiid is in the midst of the best season of his career, averaging more than 30 points and 11 rebounds per match, and as a result is a leading contender for the NBA’s MVP award.

Simmons is averaging 16.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game, and has coupled his always impressive defensive abilities with a recent burst of aggression offensively — including scoring a career-high 42 points in Utah last month in a game Embiid sat out due to injury.

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Philadelphia Eagles starting left tackle Andre Dillard tears biceps

Eagles left tackle Andre Dillard will miss the 2020 campaign with a biceps injury, multiple outlets reported Thursday.

Derrick Gunn, formerly of NBC Sports Philadelphia, first reported Dillard suffered a biceps injury Thursday, and he added the team hoped it was not a tear. Later, NFL Media and ESPN confirmed Gunn’s report and added that Dillard will need season-ending surgery.

Dillard’s injury is a heavy blow to an Eagles offensive line that already lost Pro Bowl right guard Brandon Brooks for the season to a torn Achilles in June.

Dillard was present at practice early Thursday but left before team drills began. Dillard, 24, was slated to take over the starting left tackle job in 2020. The team traded up to select him with the No. 22 overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, and after sitting behind future Pro Football Hall of Famer Jason Peters for a season, Dillard was poised to take over the starting spot.

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The Eagles have a deep group of offensive linemen, but it’s young and inexperienced after Halapoulivaati Vaitai’s exit in free agency. In Dillard’s absence, the most logical move seems to be moving Peters, who returned to the Eagles to replace Brooks at right guard, to left tackle and moving third-year pro Matt Pryor up in Peters’ place.

The Eagles, however, already signed Peters to play over Pryor during the offseason.

Pryor started camp working as the backup right guard behind Peters, but after right tackle Lane Johnson suffered a lower body injury that caused him to miss a week of practice, Pryor has been working as the top right tackle.

Third-year pro Jordan Mailata took Dillard’s spot at left tackle with the first team Thursday, but he’s had his share of struggles in camp.

Still, the easiest move would be to slide Peters over and promote Pryor, but it depends on the rest of the offensive line staying healthy.

Dillard had an up-and-down camp. He was not “dominant” by any stretch as suggested above by ESPN’s Adam Schefter. He missed practice earlier this week with an upper body injury, and while he mostly held his own, he was involved in a scary moment Wednesday.

Dillard was bull-rushed by defensive end Joe Ostman, lost his balance and fell into quarterback Carson Wentz’s legs. Wentz got up slowly, but he was fine. It was an alarming moment. The Eagles appeared for Dillard in Year 2 despite some physical and mental struggles in his rookie season.

The former Washington State standout stated he added 20 pounds of muscle this offseason and felt much stronger. Unfortunately for Dillard and the Eagles, he’ll have to wait a year to show off his improvement.

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