INDIANAPOLIS – When
“I was a fifth-year senior. He was a rookie,” Cherilus said of Castonzo. “The day he walked in, I realized he was going to be a good one. I don’t want to give myself this much credit but deep inside when I looked at Anthony, I saw a lot of myself when I was a young guy.”
Cherilus was in the midst of starting a school-record 51 games for the No. 10 Eagles and he lined up at left tackle that season with Castonzo, despite his slender frame, at right tackle.
When that season came to a close, Cherilus would move on to become the 17th overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft and has started 71 games in five seasons with the Detroit Lions.
Castonzo was back in Chestnut Hill, slowly gaining weight and beginning to transform himself into another first-round draft pick.
The school record that Cherilus set would end after Castonzo started 54 games for the Eagles, and the Chicago native moved over to left tackle following the 2007 campaign.
In 2011, Castonzo was taken No. 22 in the first round of the NFL Draft and after two years the pair is reunited once again.
During free agency in February, Cherlius’ cell phone kept on buzzing with the protégée offering some advice.
“I sent him a text saying, ‘It would be perfect, wouldn’t it? That would be awesome for you to come here,’ ” Castonzo said of his conversation with Cherilus.
Ultimately, both Castonzo and Cherilus said the overall draw of the Colts is what lured the former Lions offensive tackle to Indianapolis, but the thought of playing together again only added to the appeal.
“When I was going through the whole process, (Castonzo) texted me a few times, ‘Like I’m not going to tell you what to do but I know I’m having a lot of fun here in Indy and if you have the opportunity, don’t turn it down,’ ” Cherilus said of the back-and-forth between the two.
It was not turned down and now it’s the younger Castonzo returning a favor to his fellow offensive tackle.
With an extra room, Castonzo offered an invitation to Cherilus to stay with him in Indianapolis, and the two are currently living together with voluntary workouts starting up last week.
Come September, it will be Castonzo lining up at left tackle this time with Cherilus opposite him on the right side.
But first, there is a little sight-seeing to do.
“He’s showing me around and everything,” Cherilus said. “He’s one of my best friends, and he’s been nothing but great to me.”