Steelers' Heyward ‘surprised’ by Villanueva’s helmet decision; Roethlisberger weighs in, too

Steelers' Heyward ‘surprised’ by Villanueva’s helmet decision; Roethlisberger weighs in, too
Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle and former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva (78) stands outside the tunnel alone during the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Chicago Bears, Sunday, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

PITTSBURGH — The Pittsburgh Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger and Cameron Heyward weighed in on teammate Alejandro Villanueva’s unexpected decision to have a name other than Antwon Rose Jr.'s on the back of his helmet Monday night.

“I was surprised by what Al did,” Heyward said. However, he continued by saying, “In this country, we’re given the freedom to do and support those that mean a lot to us.”

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Roethlisberger echoed Heyward’s thoughts, unaware that Villanueva’s helmet would bear the name of military veteran Alwyn Cashe, who according to the Military Times, died after attempting to rescue other soldiers who were trapped inside a vehicle after an improvised explosive device detonated in Iraq.

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“I did not know about Al’s choice for the back of his helmet and, obviously, that’s his choice. That’s the amazing thing about the country we live in,” Roethlisberger said.

Villanueva’s teammates' helmets honored Rose, a decision that was announced by the Steelers ahead of Monday’s game. Rose was 17 years old when he was shot and killed in 2018 by an East Pittsburgh police officer while running from a traffic stop.

Pittsburgh Steelers to remember Antwon Rose Jr. by putting his name on helmets