Former Pittsburgh Steelers’ OT Alejandro Villanueva has announced he is retiring from the NFL, according to an article tweeted out by the Baltimore Ravens Wednesday, the team he played for in 2021.
Undrafted after playing WR at Army, Villanueva didn’t begin his career in Pittsburgh but it’s the city he found his NFL footing. The Steelers signed him in 2014 and converted him from defensive end to offensive tackle. Under Mike Munchak, Villanueva turned into a solid left tackle, replacing an injured Kelvin Beachum in 2015 and staying as the team’s tackle through 2020.
He was among the league’s ironmen, never missing a game in his NFL career. He signed a four-year, $24 million extension with the Steelers in July of 2017, a cheap price for an offensive tackle but a testament to how far Villanueva had come along in his career. In total, Villanueva started 107 games in his career. 90 of those came with the Steelers. He was named to a pair of Pro Bowls, back-to-back appearances in 2017 and 2018.
Pittsburgh did not re-sign Villanueva last offseason and he signed a two-year, $14 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens. Initially pegged to play right tackle, Villanueva flipped back to the left side due to Ronnie Stanley’s ongoing injuries. However, Villanueva struggled and opted not to return for the 2022 season. As this recent photo of him and David DeCastro showed, a skinny-looking Villanueva may have decided on retirement weeks ago.
Off the field, Villanueva is of course known for his military service, an Army Ranger who served multiple tours in Afghanistan. He was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for rescuing injured soldiers during one firefight.
While with the Steelers, Villanueva graduated from Carnegie Mellon Business School. Odds are good his post-NFL future is just as bright as his playing days were.