The offseason is inevitably a period of projection and speculation, which makes it the ideal time to ponder the hypotheticals that the Pittsburgh Steelers will face over the course of the next year, whether it is addressing free agency, the draft, performance on the field, or some more ephemeral topic.
That is what I will look to address in our Buy or Sell series. In each installment, I will introduce a topic statement and weigh some of the arguments for either buying it (meaning that you agree with it or expect it to be true) or selling it (meaning you disagree with it or expect it to be false).
The range of topics will be intentionally wide, from the general to the specific, from the immediate to that in the far future. And as we all tend to have an opinion on just about everything, I invite you to share your own each morning on the topic statement of the day.
Topic Statement: Alejandro Villanueva is closer to retiring than many believe.
Explanation: The Steelers have been fortunate in multiple ways to have Alejandro Villanueva in the building since 2014. He has proven to be a legitimate franchise left tackle, and generally a great person and ambassador for the organization and for the game. But he’s about to turn 32 and had other ambitions in life beyond the gridiron.
Let’s keep perspective here. Villanueva isn’t necessarily a football lifer. He was born into a military family to a Spanish Naval officer. While he was born in Mississippi, he spent much of his adolescent years living in Spain and Belgium. He went to Army. And then he went into the Army and served multiple tours of active duty, with honors, in between failed stints to make it in the NFL.
More than that, he has always gone beyond athletics. His faith is very important to him. His future and the future of his family as well. While with the Steelers, he completed his MBA at the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon.
Regardless of when he retires, he has plans for the future. He’s already made about $25 million in his career. He’s about to be 32. He doesn’t have to play beyond this season. He might, but even if he does, it may not be for much longer.
Villanueva isn’t the only player in the league who is more than just a football player. That’s one of the principle messages the NFLPA constantly tries to promote, such as with the hashtag #AthleteAnd. Joshua Dobbs is another glowing example of an athlete who is more than his current profession.
But that doesn’t mean that they don’t want to fully pursue their athletic endeavors when they have the physical gifts to do so. Remember Myron Rolle, the Rhodes scholar? He was willing to give his all to try to make it in the NFL. It didn’t work out, so he went on to pursue his life’s work. Were it not for that, perhaps he’d still be playing today. It’s never easy to retire from the