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Steelers formalize practice squad

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By Alan Robinson
Sunday, Aug. 31, 2014, 6:15 p.m.

Offensive lineman Alejandro Villanueva, a former West Point wide receiver who served in Afghanistan as an Army Ranger, is one of 10 players on the Steelers' season-opening 10-man practice squad.

The 6-foot-9 Villanueva, who was in the Eagles' camp as a defensive lineman before working out last week in Pittsburgh, is the only practice squad player who wasn't in the Steelers' training camp.

Also added Sunday were Howard Jones, the former Division II Shepherd University player who recovered three fumbles in the preseason; cornerback Shaquille Richardson, safety Ross Ventrone, defensive linemen Josh Mauro and Nick Williams, running back Josh Harris, wide receivers Derek Moye and C.J. Goodwin and tight end Rob Blanchflower.

Richardson and Blanchflower were May draft picks who were cut Saturday as the Steelers reduced their roster to 53. Williams was a 2013 draft pick. Moye, a former Penn State player, made one touchdown catch among his two receptions in eight games last season.

Villanueva, who now weighs 277 pounds, served three tours as an Army Ranger captain in Afghanistan, earning the bronze star for valor. He last played football in 2009, when he was Army's leading wide receiver, catching 34 passes for 525 yards and five touchdowns. He was one of the Eagles' early cuts in camp after signing with them out of a tryout camp last spring.

Villanueva was recruited by Army as a tight end, but also played the offensive and defensive line before spending his final season primarily as a receiver.

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