Visit NFL from the sidelines on the new Observer-Reporter site:

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Steelers sign 10 to practice squad

The Steelers signed 10 players to their practice squad on Sunday, nine of whom had been with the team in training camp and two of whom were draft picks this year.

The one who had not been with them, offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, is an interesting story.

A former star at Army, Villanueva worked out for the Steelers last week. At 6-9, 277 pounds, he'll cut an imposing figure.

He also served three tours in Afghanistan, earning a Bronze Star and the rank of Captain with the 75th Ranger Regiment in the 1st Battalion.

He had been in camp with Philadelphia, but was released Aug. 23.

Also added to the practice squad were wide receivers C.J. Goodwin, a California University of Pennsylvania product, and Derek Moye, defensive backs Shaquille Richardson, a fifth-round draft pick, and Ross Ventrone, defensive linemen Josh Mauro and Nick Williams, running back Josh Harris, tight end Rob Blanchflower, a seventh-round pick, and linebacker Howard Jones.

@ The other big news to come out Sunday was Kansas City signing Alex Smith to a 4-year, $68-million contract extension.

Considering Ben Roethlisberger will also be looking for at least a four-year extension at the end of this season, that would have to be looked at as the base line for an average quarterback, which is what Smith is.

So if average quarterbacks are getting $17 million per season, Roethlisberger's starting point should be in the 4-year, $100-million range. The Steelers will be looking for something a little more palatable, such as 4-years, $80 million. And then they'll meet in the middle.

Of course, the bonus money will be the biggest issue. That part of the deal is typically the only guaranteed money.


Anonymous said...

I thought Bryan Arnfelt had a good shot but he didn't make.
Any idea why?

Anonymous said...

Nice to see we didn't get our guys taken. Will be nice to have depth on PS squad when guys get hurt.

adamg said...

The inexplicable Ross Ventrone love continues.

Dale Lolley said...

Arnfelt was passed by other guys.

Ventrone is a solid practice player. Gives it his all, which is what you want. That's what these guys are there for, to give the starters a good look.

Plus, if you need a special teams guy to call up, he's your man.

Anonymous said...


Any idea where Villanueva might play? He was OL in college, wanted to play receiver in the NFL, the Eagles had him on the DL. Why not TE as he has the blocking ability from having played OL and would present matchup problems from a height standpoint for just about anybody.

adamg said...

They have no real OTs, other than Adams, on the roster.

It's hard to watch line play on TV, but I didn't notice Johnson get any time at OT and Hubbard played only G.

That would indicate he was signed as an OT.

Dale Lolley said...

They list him as an offensive lineman. Considering he's 6-9, that means OT. But yes, you could be looking at a OT/TE down the road.

Johnson worked a lot at OT early in camp before they moved him inside the rest of the way. They're grooming him as a swing guy.

Tim said...

Alex "game manager" Smith is far better than an average quarterback. But hell, calling him average is still more cutting edge than half the world out there, that still thinks he stinks.

snarky said...

I agree Dale. I thought Ventrone's special teams play this preseason might have got him on the 53.

Anonymous said...

We'll see how Smith does now that he has less talent around him because the team can't keep players due to his cap hit. The truly good QB's find ways to make average players better, not sure Alex Smith can do that.

Anonymous said...

How many of the guys signed to the practice squad will be arrested, cited or sued this year?

Anonymous said...

As has been mentioned before, NFL players get arrested less often than the average joe.

So a better questions might be, how many of the people who post online whining about criminal NFL players will get arrested themselves?

Anonymous said...

Anon 7:18, this isn't Cleveland...or the othe other home of the Browns, the Baltimore Browns. Worry about their police blotter.

Tim said...

Yeah, when has Alex Smith EVER had to play with crappy talent around him...? Look at the "weapons" he had in SF. Even in KC it's just Charles and Bowe, whose inconsistency is a problem and what kept them from advancing in the playoffs.

People still want to wait and see with Smith. He's been good since 2009, and great since 2011. How much longer does he have to prove himself?