PITTSBURGH — Two prominent players on the Pittsburgh Steelers‘ offense are currently without contracts. One of them showed up for minicamp and the other did not.
Left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who also participated in OTAs despite not signing his one-year tender for $615,000, showed up. Running back Le’Veon Bell, who has yet to sign his $12.12 million franchise tag tender, did not.
Villanueva, the former Army Ranger who served three tours in Afghanistan, said he leaves all the negotiating to his agent.
“I don’t talk to him,” Villanueva said. “I don’t know anything about my situation. I don’t focus about contracts. I come from very little money in my family. I’ve spent most of my time in the military so I’m institutionalized about the ways I spend my money. My agent will make a decision and let me know. He’s the guy I trusted when I got cut from Philly. He taught me the steps about how to get me back on my feet.
“It’s not a fun process. It’s not something I like to go through. But at the end of the day, there aren’t a lot of exciting things going on in OTAs and you have to write about something. The team is very successful and they’ll make whatever decisions they have to make. From my end, I’ve been extremely fortunate where I am. I’ve been to Afghanistan three times. A lot of service members have died next to me protecting my life. Being here is a blessing. I’ve won 10 lotteries already. If I get a percentage of the lottery on top, it is what it is. If not, it’s something I can live with. I’m not the best at making decisions, but I feel very comfortable making decisions. It’s a process. I’m very thankful to the Steelers and their treatment. They’ve always been very respectful. The only thing I can do is show that respect back.”
Outside linebacker T.J. Watt, the No. 30 overall pick in April’s draft, is the only one of the Steelers’ eight draft picks not to sign his rookie contract after third-round corner Cameron Sutton signed his deal Tuesday morning. But Watt said he’s not concerned about his contract.
“I know the deal is going to come,” Watt said. “That’s not a problem at all with me right now. I’m just playing football and doing the best that I can on the field.”
Watt is trying to stay in his playbook as much as possible. That’s the No. 1 piece of advice his brother J.J., the NFL three-time defensive player of the year, gave him.
“Just to stay in the playbook and know as much as you can so when you get out there you can just let loose and let your natural ability take over,” Watt said. “I know the playbook pretty well right now. Now it’s time to take that next step and start making plays for this defense.”