INDIANAPOLIS – Last June, Bill Polian was attending a charity golf outing when his eye was drawn to the 6-7 participant towering over everyone.
*'Who is that?' *the former Colts GM thought.
The man was Anthony Castonzo, Polian's final first-round pick in 2011.
Castonzo definitely caught Polian by surprise.
"I said, 'Holy mackerel! Have you grown up? That hard work surely paid off,'" Polian said to Castonzo this past summer.
That frame of Castonzo has grown into a franchise left tackle after the Colts inked him to a four-year extension just prior to the start of the 2015 season.
In 2015, the Colts had to deal with life sans Castonzo for the first time since his rookie campaign.
A sprained MCL for Castonzo sidelined him for three games late in the season, and the Colts felt his loss.
In the run game: With Castonzo healthy in 2015, Frank Gore averaged 3.95 yards per carry. Without Castonzo for three games, Gore averaged just 2.68 yards per carry.
In the pass game: With Castonzo healthy in 2015, the Colts gave up an average of 1.9 sacks in 13 games. Without Castonzo for three games, the Colts allowed 3.6 sacks per game.
Anthony Castonzo highlights.
As Castonzo prepares for his first full season on his second NFL contract, he's preparing to block for new offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski.
In the very brief installation of Chud's beliefs, Castonzo liked what he saw.
"I do think Chud tried to simplify the run game for us," Castonzo said to SIRIUS Radio earlier this offseason. "You get to practice the same play a lot and kind of get good at techniques, being a master of a few tricks, rather than just a jack of all trades.
"I think we tried to figure out what we were good at. I would say that Chud definitely likes to stick to the run. I definitely think there were some more repeats and that's just because he has confidence in that running game."
Back from the Far East and a USO Tour, Castonzo will now ramp up the offseason activity for his sixth NFL season.
The team's offseason program is nearing and this is when Castonzo's major work is done.
"The offseason is kind of when I make my hay being as prepared as possible going into the next season," No. 74 says.