The Pittsburgh Steelers have reportedly brought in Spanish rugby star Inaki Villanueva for a workout, this per ESPN's Field Yates.
Source: the Steelers worked out Spanish rugby sevens star Inaki Villanueva. He worked out at TE. Trying to make it in the NFL.— Field Yates (@FieldYates) October 10, 2016
While most fans will simply brush off this news, they should realize the Steelers have given a chance to other players in a similar, but not exact, situation. In fact, the starting left tackle with the same last name could possibly be put into such a category.
Alejandro Villanueva went from tight end / wide receiver at Army, to defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles, and now the starting left tackle for the Steelers. No, Villanueva never played another sport, but the transition from where he began, to where he finished, is certainly comparable.
More and more athletes are looking to find their way into the money laden NFL, and Inaki Villanueva being a rugby star certainly would have some of the characteristics necessary to play the American Football game. Catching the football, endurance, speed and physicality would all translate to the professional game, but the learning curve would be huge.
For those who might be thinking the Steelers will be considering signing him to the 2016 roster, think again. These type of workouts happen more often than you think, they just aren't reported. Villanueva being a rugby player caught the eye of ESPN. If anything, the Steelers could sign him to a futures contract after the season and give him a chance to prove himself in the offseason. The workout also could have been a bust, and he is still looking for employment in the NFL.