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Army Ranger And Combat Veteran Signs With NFL Team (Video)

Photo credit: NFL.com

U.S. Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva

U.S. Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva has signed an NFL rookie free-agent contract to play with the Philadelphia Eagles.

The 25-year-old Villanueva played football during his years at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, before spending four years of active-duty service in the Army.

The 6-foot-9, 277-pound defensive lineman earned a Bronze Star during one of his three deployments to Afghanistan. And it was in Afghanistan, Villanueva told NFL.com, that he kept his football skills sharp:

"[T]he best football experience the last four years was what we called HLZ football - the Helicopter Landing Zone...

"You play on the rocks and the gravel, and you fall and you can get injured pretty badly. Sometimes there would be shooting while we were playing, and we'd have to get down on the ground and whatnot.

"It was a really fun experience and, obviously, the game never changes. Whether you're playing in Afghanistan or in a game with thousands of people watching you, it's football."

Villanueva was born in Mississippi, but grew up in Spain and Belgium, where his father worked for NATO.

If you want to check out Villanueva's moves on the football field, take a gander at the video below, courtesy of YouTube.

Army Ranger Ali Villanueva on the football field

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