Villanueva knows there's no guarantees


The move that landed offensive tackle Mike Adams on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list ensured Adams wouldn't be filling the swing-tackle role for the Steelers for at least the first six weeks of the regular season.

But it guaranteed nothing for reserve-tackle hopeful Alejandro Villanueva.

That, at least, is the way Villanueva is interpreting what transpired during Monday's roster reduction to 75.

"I can't worry about stuff like that," he said. "I don't know what's going to happen. I don't know who's available around the league. The only thing I can worry about is to try to play my best football and contribute to the team and not think of it in terms of the lowest common denominator, which would be just to make the team.

"I'm not sure what's going to happen with me. Obviously this is a pretty significant week for players that are not established. I'm going to try to keep working hard. I don't worry about any other factors outside of my game."

The Steelers have one preseason game remaining, on Thursday night at Heinz Field against Carolina.

Villanueva survived the cut to 75 in his attempt to complete the journey from U.S. Army service in Afghanistan veteran to a spot on the Steelers' 53-man roster.

And he's confident he has the physical attributes to make it the rest of the way.

But he also knows it'll take more than confidence and a physical skill set to get there.

"I'm confident about my abilities but I also understand there are a lot of other factors outside of how good a player can be in terms of money that goes in and out of the player, transactions, other players that are available and also the fact that I don't have the experience a lot of other players have," he said. "It's just a matter of how much coaching they're willing to put on me, how much time they're willing to spend.

"In terms of athletic ability, strength, flexibility, foot movement and all that stuff, I feel like I have it. It's a matter of being able to put it on display and having the time to be coached and perfect my technique, which is one of the deficiencies I acknowledge I have."

Villanueva knows he hasn't yet made the team.

But even as an NFL newcomer he understands how teams are made.

"You certainly have to be aware of what the process is if you're going to go through the process," Villanueva said. "Once you understand that it can give you peace of mind understanding that there are only certain things you can control and you have to work really hard at those things.

"In my case I know who makes the decisions. I know what things they're looking at. But the only thing I can control in that decision-making process is my play and how I perform on the field.

"We're still in the same situation, no decision has been made. I don't know what the plans are for me. All I can do is continue to try to do my best out on the field, improve as hard as I can and move in the right direction and hopefully good things will happen."

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