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Alejandro Villanueva: Army Ranger signs with Philadelphia Eagles

Army's Alejandro Villanueva catches a long reception in 4th-quarter action against Navy's Kevin Edwards during their game Saturday, Dec. 12, 2009, in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Navy defeated Army 17-3.

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Eagles signed U.S. Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva on Monday, giving the 6-foot-9, 277-pound defensive lineman his first chance to play football since he was commissioned on May 22, 2010. Villanueva spent the past four years in the Army and served three tours in Afghanistan. He last played football for Army in 2009 and tried out for the Bengals in 2010.

The Eagles scouted Villanueva, 25, at the super regional combine in Detroit in April. He will be with the team for the rookie minicamp from May 16-18.

Villanueva was promoted to captain earlier this month. His honors are impressive, ranging the Bronze Star Medal for Valor to the Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon to Expert Infantryman’s Badge.

Villanueva arrived at West Point as a reserve defensive lineman in 2006. He moved to left tackle in 2008, starting at that spot for 12 games. He converted to wide receiver in 2009 and led the Black Knights with 34 catches, 522 yards, and five touchdowns. He fits Coach Chip Kelly’s oft-cited mantra that “big people beat up little people.”

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