Colts say LT Anthony Castonzo will return, leaving offensive line intact

INDIANAPOLIS -- Left tackle Anthony Castonzo has told the Indianapolis Colts that he plans to continue to playing instead of retiring, general manager Chris Ballard said Tuesday.

Castonzo, who has spent his entire career with the Colts, said at the end of last season that retirement was an option for him. His decision to continue playing means the Colts will not have to pursue a new starter at the position this offseason. Ballard said they're in the process of getting Castonzo re-signed. He believes the 31-year-old left tackle will take it year by year in determining his playing status going forward.

"I didn't have a sense [if Castonzo was retiring]," Ballard said. "Anthony has played a lot of great football, and he's been a great Colt. He's going to continue to be a great Colt. I just wanted to give him his time. As we all know, and as I've been doing this job, nobody could care less. You have to find an answer. It is what it is."

Castonzo has started all 132 games he's appeared in since the Colts selected him in the first round of the 2011 draft. His return means the Colts will return the same offensive line that started all 16 games last season, barring any injuries. That group helped the Colts finish seventh in the NFL in rushing while giving up 32 sacks last season.

"Look we were fortunate to have all five starters play 16 games," Ballard said. "I know that's not going to happen every year. ... But getting Anthony back and having the starting five, I know him and [left guard] Quenton [Nelson] have built quite a relationship and continuity on the same side. I think all five have built a continuity. With the O-line, it's not always about having the five best talent but having the five guys that will play together. It's big for us."