While Pittsburgh Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell reportedly isn’t present for the team’s annual mandatory minicamp that got underway on Tuesday, tackle Alejandro Villanueva apparently did decide to show up even though he’s still yet to sign his one-year exclusive rights tender.
According to Chris Bradford of the Beaver County Times, Villanueva once again spoke to the media on Tuesday after the team finished their first of two practice sessions of the day.
No Bell sighting during noon media availability. Alejandro Villanueva, who is here, spoke at length again.
— Chris Bradford (@PghBradford) June 13, 2017
There was some speculation that Villanueva would bypass the team’s mandatory minicamp even though he took part in all the OTA practices over the course of the last three weeks. The Steelers starting left tackle said last week that he would likely consult his agent on whether or not he would participate in the three-day mandatory minicamp.
According to Aditi Kinkhabwala of the NFL Network, Villanueva said Tuesday he owes it to the team “that has given me so much, that has taught me how to play football” when it cones to his decision to show up this week.
LT Al Villanueva at #Steelers HQ despite no contract. Says he owes it to team "that has given me so much, that has taught me how to play FB"
— Aditi Kinkhabwala (@AKinkhabwala) June 13, 2017
Villanueva is still likely hoping to sign a new long-term contract later on in the summer after being issued a one-year, $615,000 exclusive rights tender ahead of the start of the 2017 league year this past March. Being as he hadn’t signed that tender, Villanueva had to sign an injury waiver in order to practice during OTAs.
The team’s mandatory minicamp practices will give Villanueva more opportunities to hone his craft something he admitted to do last week. The Steelers will conclude their last minicamp practices on Thursday and then will be off until late July when training camp gets underway in Latrobe.
“Obviously, I don’t have a contract right now so going to training camp will be a little more complicated, but I trust the decision will come,” he said, according to Ray Fittipaldo of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.