The Pittsburgh Steelers had an extremely long list of free agents entering the 2021 offseason, and shockingly they were able to retain a good majority of those players. However, for players like Bud Dupree and James Conner, they found homes elsewhere.
As the 2021 NFL Draft approached, there were still some players who were without homes, and one of the biggest names on the free agent market was former Steelers left tackle Alejandro Villanueva. When May 3rd came and went, and thus ending the free agent compensatory formula being impacted, and the Ravens announced they signed Villanueva to a two-year, $14 million deal with Baltimore on Tuesday that includes $8 million guaranteed
On Wednesday, Villanueva was in front of the Ravens’ media members for the first time, and considering he is now on the other side of the Ravens/Steelers rivalry, there were plenty of questions about his former team.
If you think the former Army Ranger turned tackle would have held his tongue, saying all the right things, think again. Villanueva was rather candid when asked about his time in Pittsburgh. In fact, he said the fact he would play the Steelers, who told him at the beginning of the offseason they weren’t going to re-sign him, twice was a major reason why he went to the division rival.
“The fact that I knew the Ravens is a team that plays hard, a team that plays AFC North-type football and I get a chance to play the Steelers as well was something that motivated me coming here for sure,” Villanueva said.
Villanueva spoke openly about his time in the service, why he left the military, but the Steelers fan base certainly saw red flags go up when Villanueva was asked about run blocking more than pass blocking, something he did plenty of while in Pittsburgh.
“I’m assuming it’s not as much fun [running the ball] for the receivers,” Villanueva said. “Because they’re not getting all of the catches, they’re making the TikToks, and they’re having fun on their social media.”
Consider shots fired.
It was last season when JuJu Smith-Schuster and Chase Claypool made national headlines with their TikTok videos, and their rapidly growing social media platforms. Some, like former teammate Zach Banner said this comment was nothing to be overblown.
Al is living in your heads rent free right now lol...— Zach Banner (@ZBNFL) May 5, 2021
I love and miss the OG already...
I wish him luck. Congrats on a great career in the ... pic.twitter.com/vFW310YjNQ
Others certainly don’t feel that way, and consider Villanueva’s comments as just another reason for the global Steelers fan base to despise the entire Ravens organization.
As the 2021 regular season approaches, I’m sure these comments will be magnified, but in the meantime Villanueva will now be tasked to learning a new system, in a new city and a new quarterback. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the upcoming 2021 regular season.