Be sure to set your DVRs. Pittsburgh Steelers tackle Alejandro Villanueva will be featured on Saturday night’s episode of SportsCenter following the NBA game of the night between the Golden State Warriors and Oklahoma City Thunder game.
Check out the press release for more information regarding the segment:
Steelers OT Alejandro Villanueva to be Featured on ESPN SportsCenter
The new season of SC Featured, the award-winning storytelling brand of ESPN SportsCenter, begins Saturday night with the story of the bond between former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva of the Pittsburgh Steelers and a man who served as his interpreter in Afghanistan.
The Villanueva feature “Brothers in Arms” will debut on Saturday, Feb. 11, in the 11 p.m. ET edition of SportsCenter that follows that night’s Golden State Warriors-Oklahoma City Thunder NBA matchup (ABC, 8:30 p.m.). The piece will re-air the next day in several editions of SportsCenter.
Before he became the starting left tackle for the Steelers, Villanueva served three tours of duty in Afghanistan. While there, as Ashley Fox reports for SC Featured, he forged a bond with his Afghan interpreter, Mohammad Arif Azimi. After U.S. troops left Afghanistan, Azimi's life was in danger as Taliban forces were seeking retribution for his role in assisting the American soldiers. Villanueva helped Azimi immigrate to the United States 16 months ago on a special immigrant visa. Last weekend, SC Featured was with Villanueva as he reconnected with an old and trusted friend he had not seen since 2012.
Fox, who is an NFL reporter/analyst for SportsCenter, met Villanueva almost three years ago and wrote a story on him for ESPN.com.
“He turned out to have this incredibly fascinating story about how he’s the son of Spanish-born parents, he went to West Point, he served three tours in Afghanistan, and he received the Bronze Star Medal of Valor for having pulled one of his wounded soldiers out of a gunfight,” she said.
This past fall, Fox tried to get him to do a television piece but he declined.
“And then last week, on Wednesday morning out of the blue, he sent me a very long text message,” she said. “It was telling me the story of his Afghan translator and how Villanueva and his wife were getting on a plane the next morning for the Super Bowl and it just so happened that Azimi lives in Houston. He was going to see him for the first time since they served together in Afghanistan and he asked me if I wanted to go. It was a total no-brainer to say yes.”
It seems like must-watch TV for Steelers fans around the globe. If you don’t watch it live, be sure to set your DVRs accordingly so you don’t miss this touching story about Villanueva and his time spent serving our country.