FOXBORO, Mass. - With 9:19 left in the fourth quarter of Friday night's second preseason game, Alejandro Villanueva did something he had never done before. The U.S. Army Ranger and offensive lineman-turned-tight-end-turned-wide-receiver-turned-defensive-end pushed into the backfield, wrapped his arms around Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett and notched his very first sack.
For Villanueva, it was a memorable moment and a measure of just how far he's come since joining the Eagles.
"I think my teammates have been helping me a lot over the past couple of months in terms of what to do on the field, because obviously I don't know much," Villanueva said after the game. "But mentally, in terms of staying ready, I was preparing to take advantage of the opportunity if it presented itself. The coaches have been great the whole time. To get a moment like that after such a long road, you start thinking of them, teammates and coaches in the Eagles organization who have helped you get here."
The other prevailing thought in Villanueva's mind after the big moment was about his family, specifically his wife, Madelyn, and her parents, who all happened to be in attendance.
"So the first thing I thought of was them and all the support they've given me over the past couple of months," said Villanueva.
In fact, Villanueva was so overwhelmed by the thought of his supporters that he forgot that he'd been planning his own sack celebration. Now he'll have to wait until sack No. 2.
"Mychal Kendricks has some great dance moves," said Villanueva, "so I'll get with him and see if I can learn a couple moves."