INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (July 8, 2015) – Before deciding to bare it all for ESPN The Magazine’s “Body Issue,’’ Anthony Castonzo knew he needed a second opinion. And a third.
The Indianapolis Colts offensive tackle first sought feedback from his girlfriend.
“She said she was OK with me doing it,’’ Castonzo said Wednesday.
Then came the necessary phone call to his mother, whose response essentially sealed the deal.
“Mom was like, ‘You’ve gotta do it. It’s once-in-a-lifetime,’’ Castonzo said. “So if mom’s OK with it, I saw no reason not to do it.
“I decided to go all-in and have some fun with it.’’
The end result is available online and the print product hits newsstands Friday.
“We had tons of fun with it and I’m happy with how the pictures came out, and I’m sure the other guys are, too,’’ Castonzo said. “Everything about it was very positive.
“I have no regrets. None.’’
It all began in late-April or early-May when backup quarterback Matt Hasselbeck approached Castonzo with the idea of going buff in the latest “Body Issue.’’
“Matt knows everyone on the planet,’’ he said. “He had a friend at ESPN The Magazine who contacted him and said they were looking for linemen to do ‘The Body’ issue this year.
“At first I thought he was punking me, because it was Hasselbeck and he does that a lot. He plays jokes all the time.’’
Hasselbeck assured Castonzo the offer was legitimate, and Castonzo finally agreed. Guard Todd Herremans quickly was added and they began reaching out to other teammates.
“Some guys were not excited about it,’’ Castonzo said with a laugh, “but Jack (Mewhort) was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll do it.’ So we had our third guy.’’
The “Body Issue’’ frequently includes varying body types and that’s exactly what the Colts’ trio offered. Castonzo is 6-7, 311 pounds, Herremans 6-6, 321, and Mewhort 6-6, 308.
“I think the view of offensive linemen from the public is that we’re all just fat slobs,’’ Herreman’s said in the magazine article. “But the game has evolved into fit, athletic offensive linemen. I would say that Anthony is the leanest of all of us, and I’m probably the chubbiest. Jack is somewhere in the middle.’’
The photoshoot took place in Carmel in mid-June and was unlike anything Castonzo had experienced. It lasted nearly five hours and included more than an hour when he, Herremans and Mewhort dropped their robes and were naked for the various poses.
The players expected some awkward moments considering they were posing nude, but that never materialized.
“It felt like a locker room setting,’’ Castonzo said. “Todd, me and Jack all have lockers right next to each other, so it was nothing new for us.’’
While ESPN The Magazine photographer Art Streiber took hundreds of photos, only a few will appear in print. One has Castonzo, Mewhort and Herremans standing with a Colts helmet strategically-positioned at their waist. Another has the trio lined up in a pass-protection stance.
The latter, according to Castonzo, was taxing.
“We were in our pass-pro stance for minutes at a time,’’ he said. “And we were sweating, man. You had to flex for a long time.’’
Before the photoshoot ended, Castonzo thought it was be interesting to recreate the famous Burt Reynolds nude centerpiece in the April 1972 issue of Cosmopolitan. Reynolds was stretched out on a bearskin rug.
Castonzo struck a similar pose: horizontal and wearing nothing but a smile with his right elbow resting on a Colts helmet.
For the most part, reaction has been positive. The only ribbing has come from teammates and former teammates. A group text includes former Colts linemen Jeff Saturday, Ryan Diem and Jeff Linkenbach, and current teammate Joe Reitz.
“They’re giving me all kinds of (grief),’’ Castonzo admitted. “They used to have their fine system and they were like, ‘How much is the fine for this?’ I’m pretty lucky I’m not in that group right now.’’
The unquestioned anchor of the offensive line also has no illusions of quitting his day job to pursue a career in modeling.
“No,’’ Castonzo said, “I think left tackle is what I’m supposed to be.’