Offensive tackle Villanueva retires after 7 seasons

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4:32 PM ET

OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva announced his retirement Wednesday after seven NFL seasons, which followed his time serving in the U.S. Army.

Villanueva, 33, reached two Pro Bowls as a long-time left tackle for the Pittsburgh Steelers, protecting Ben Roethlisberger‘s blind side for six years. But Villanueva decided to call it quits after his one disappointing season in Baltimore. He struggled to replace injured All-Pro left tackle Ronnie Stanley, allowing an NFL-worst 17 sacks last season.

Baltimore signed Villanueva to a two-year, $14 million contract (including $8 million guaranteed) last year just three days after the draft. The Ravens added Villanueva to start at right tackle and replace Orlando Brown Jr., who was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. But Stanley’s season was abruptly over after Week 1 because of a left ankle injury, forcing Villanueva to move to left side for the final 16 games.

Alejandro Villanueva, 33, made two Pro Bowls during his seven-year career. AP Photo/Julio Cortez

Villanueva held his own in the ground game last year, ranking eighth in run block win rate (78.2%) among offensive tackles. But he had lost a step in pass protection with a 86.9% pass block win rate (45th among tackles). He gave up three more sacks than any other player in the league in 2021.

Villanueva is a former U.S. Army Ranger who served two tours in Afghanistan. He was part of two divisions, 10th Mountain and 75th Ranger Regiment, before becoming an NFL player.

In addition to placing Villanueva on the reserve/retired list, the Ravens also released cornerback Tavon Young, who struggled to stay healthy in his six years in Baltimore. Those two moves created $11.8 million in cap space.

Source: ESPN NFL


Author: Ellen Garcia