Wednesday, February 10, 2016

ESPN goes deep on Alejandro Villanueva's rise to the Eagles

You have probably read and heard things over the last few weeks about new Eagles signing Alejandro Villanueva's time as an Army Ranger, and about how he has served three tours in Afghanistan.

ESPN goes deep on Alejandro Villanueva's rise to the Eagles

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Eagles rookie Alejandro Villanueva. (Michael Perez/AP file photo)
Eagles rookie Alejandro Villanueva. (Michael Perez/AP file photo)

You have probably read and heard things over the last few weeks about new Eagles signing Alejandro Villanueva's time as an Army Ranger, and about how he has served three tours in Afghanistan.

On Thursday, ESPN.com published a longform story by Ashley Fox that goes into really deep detail about Villanueva's life story. 

I'm not going to spoil the whole thing here, obviously, but one excerpt in particular caught my attention. Here's Fox explaining what might happen should Villanueva's long-shot journey to the NFL ultimately not succeed: 

There is plenty of uncertainty. Villanueva is waiting to see whether the Army will release him from active duty. If that does happen, he will have to serve for a time in the reserves. But if the Army releases him and the NFL doesn't pan out, Villanueva said he likely would apply to graduate school to pursue an MBA. His short-term future is very much up in the air. 

"When you're deployed, you don't know what can happen, but you know exactly what can happen," Villanueva said. "You know you can go on a mission and not come back. You know you can go on a mission and come back in half. You know the things that can happen. Now, I don't even know what can happen." 

Given that he hasn't played football in five years, Villanueva is a long shot to make the Eagles' roster. But Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly loves his makeup. 

We all forget at times that football players have lives away from the field. Alejandro Villanueva's story reminds us how much that can matter.

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