Pittsburgh Steelers Player Defies Team Decision, Honors Fallen Soldier With His Helmet

The NFL is allowing players to wear names and slogans on their jerseys and helmets this year and Pittsburgh Steelers Offensive Tackle Alejandro Villanueva took full advantage of the rule to honor fallen soldier Sgt. Alwyn Cashe.

As CBS Pittsburgh reports, Cashe was killed in 2005 during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Steelers reporter Chris Adamski reports Villanueva chose to honor Cashe, who was posthumously given the Silver Star after he ran into danger to rescue his fellow soldiers.

“Alwyn Cashe died 10/17/05 when an improvised explosive devise detonated near his vehicle in Samarra, Iraq. He suffered 2nd/3rd-degree burns 70%+ of his body when he ran back into the vehicle in an attempt to rescue soldiers trapped inside,” Adamski reported.

Villanueva’s decision, however, came after a team decision for all the players to wear the name of Antwon Rose Jr., a 17-year-old who was killed by police officers in 2018.

With Rose Jr.’s name already on his jersey, Villanueva had to cover it and physically wrote Cashe’s name.

CBS Pittsburgh reports:

Cashe, a Sgt. 1st Class died while rescuing fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

After debate whether his actions warranted an upgrade, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper has agreed that he would endorse upgrading Cashe’s award to a posthumous Medal of Honor.

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USA Today reports the decision was met with mixed reviews online.

The Steelers ultimately won their home contest versus the New York Giants 26 to 16.