Alejandro Villanueva just wanted a 'fair' deal from the Steelers

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Alejandro Villanueva is glad its over, this whole contract thing. Thursday, the offensive left tackle signed his new deal, worth $24 million over four years. While the money is good, Villanueva, 28, didnt enjoy all that came with it.
Its not a fun process,Villanueva said Friday after the Steelersfirst morning walk-through of training camp. Going through a contract is for some reason, you feel really embarrassed afterwards and all the media attention you get out of it is not fun.
Presumably, Villanueva is referring to the public spectacle contract negotiations become, with outsiders sometimes wondering how many millions a player really needs. Its what makes Villanuevas case so interesting. His contract is below the average salary for starting left tackles.
Villanuevas career arc also put him in a unique position in negotiations. This former Army Ranger didnt sign with an NFL team until 2014. He will turn 29 in September, and this might have been his one shot at a large contract. The long-term deal allowed him to avoid playing the upcoming season on the one-year, $615,000 exclusive rights free-agent tender the Steelers offered in the offseason.
In my football career, Ive been more focused on trying to make the team. Ive been more focused on becoming a starter. Ive been more focused on trying to not embarrass myself on national television,Villanueva said. My agent kind of focused on the question of what is fair. So, it was a very tough assignment for him.
Villanueva, who has started the past 31 games at left tackle after joining the teams practice squad in 2014, said he wasnt seriously considering holding out. He said he was only seeking a faircontract, and he used the word 10 times in his 13-minute media session.
In the offseason, Villanueva made the decision to attend organized team activities (OTAs) and work out at the team facility while negotiations were ongoing. As the process continued, he admitted he didnt know whether a deal was going to get done — “It was sort of a last-minute thing,he said but he planned to attend camp.
Part of the reason, he said, was because there are still a few things here and therehe can learn about the position. After all, when he was cut by the Philadelphia Eagles in 2014, he had been playing defensive line. Mostly, though, he said being at camp is important in establishing a routine and continuing to build sound communication among the offensive line unit.
I would say I was not set to hold out, but I was not set to wait at my house, either,he said. Im hoping to play football.
Villanueva was asked whether he compared his new deal to John Randle Youth Jersey what other starting left tackles make, and, in an impassioned response, he explained why he did not.
I played in a park in Belgium. Thats where I played football in high school for a year. I really didnt have a lot of experience. I was a walk-on at West Point. I was last string D-end when I was at Army. Then I played wide receiver and offensive line. Not really had a career that you could say was groomed to be a first-round pick and get a big contract,he said.
Posted 29 Jul 2017

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