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Former Steelers Tackle Alejandro Villanueva Announces Retirement



Alejandro Villanueva

Former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva has announced his retirement from the NFL after seven seasons, the Baltimore Ravens announced Wednesday.

Villanueva spent the first six years of his career with Pittsburgh before joining Baltimore in 2021. Playing a vital role protecting the blindsides of both Ben Roethlisberger and Lamar Jackson during his career, Villanueva never missed a game and made 107 starts.

He joined the Ravens on a two-year $14 million contract in 2021, and will be officially placed on the NFL reserve/retired list by Baltimore. He is walking away from $6 million in salary and bonuses he was owed in the 2022 season.

The Steelers signed Villanueva to their practice squad in 2014, after he was released by the Philadelphia Eagles. In 2015, he was slated to be the Steelers’ backup tackle, but moved into a starter role after an injury to Kelvin Beachum. Villanueva spent all six of his seasons on the Steelers’ roster as the team’s primary starter at left tackle and earned a pair of Pro Bowl nods with the Steelers in 2017 and 2018.

“I’m an undrafted player,” Villanueva said last season. “I’ll always have that title attached to my name and that title attached to your journey. It’s interested in the NFL, you get these labels, if you’re a first-rounder or top 10 — good college players always talk about the SEC that the division that all the good players go to. So for me, coming from a small school, undrafted, I just had the urge to try to get on an NFL team.”

While Villanueva did not begin his NFL career until the age of 25, he had an admirable reason for his late start. After graduating from West Point, Villanueva served three tours in Afghanistan with the Army Rangers. He was awarded the Bronze Star for rescuing wounded soldiers in combat.

The Steelers replaced Villanueva with rookie Dan Moore Jr. in 2021.

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