Now In Purple And Black, Villanueva Reflects On Ravens-Steelers Rivalry. But It’s No El Clásico, He Says – CBS Baltimore

OWINGS MILLS Md. (WJZ) — Alejandro Villanueva doesn’t know how he’ll feel when he gets to Heinz Field, his professional home for the first six years of his NFL career.

“We’ll see when I cross that bridge,”He told reporters Wednesday.

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There will, of course, be some emotions for the Ravens’ left tackle. Pittsburgh is Villanueva, the city. An officer in the Spanish Navy, where he lived the longest and had all his children. He called Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers coach, a “father figure,” and said he used to mimic Tomlin’s vocal cadence when talking to his kids.

Villanueva was a former U.S. Army Ranger. The Steelers took a chance with Villanueva. Three tours of Afghanistan were completed by this individualHe was 26 when he was signed to their practice squad. It paid off. Villanueva, who was an offensive tackle, defensive lineman, wideout and wideout player, paid a lot of attention to it. West Point, played every game on the team’s offensive line between 2015 and 2020 and made every start in his last five years. He was twice selected for the Pro Bowl in black or gold.

With the Ravens facing the Steelers on Sunday, he finds himself on one side of the AFC North rivalry.

“None of these teams want to bend a knee to the other, so they’re always going to be competing for No. 1, No. 2,”He said.

But to him, it doesn’t come close to games between Spanish fútbol teams Real Madrid and FC Barcelona, a matchup simply known as El Clásico.

“To me, that’s a rivalry,”He said. “That’s a rivalry that’s tearing the country apart.”

Villanueva noted that both the Steelers (Ravens) and Steelers (Steelers) run the ball hard and play tough defensively. Fans and media really get involved in it.

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He also reduced any rivalry between Baltimore, Pittsburgh, to “two good teams that happen to play each other twice a year, usually in the cold.”

These two fan bases are located in working class towns. “so everybody wants to be the most blue collar, if you will,”He said.

“Unfortunately, I cannot provide any further hype to the rivalry,” he deadpanned.

Villanueva refused to give any bulletin board material to his former team, which was defeated in their last two games.

Tomlin is one of the best minds in football, he said, and Pittsburgh’s defense still has great players in linebacker Devin Bush, defensive end Cam Heyward and cornerback Joe Haden, to name a few. (T.J. Watt is another he player. Recently placed(Refer to the COVID-19 reserve list.)

“Records, statistics, they’re awesome to write articles and to hype up and bring down football teams. But for us as players and us as teams, we understand that we’re going against a very, very good defense, one of the best in the NFL,”He said. “It’s going to be a tremendous challenge for us, regardless of what they’ve done in the past.”

The 33-year-old marvelled at Harbaugh and Tomlin’s long careers and winning more than 200 games, while other head coaches have been dismissed. What has allowed them to have such sustained success, you ask?

Apparently, it’s a long answer.

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“I can’t tell you that, unless you offer me a coffee and a cigarette,” he quipped.

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