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Roethlisberger Says 'That's His Choice,' Heyward 'Surprised' By Alejandro Villanueva's Decision To Cover Antwon Rose's Name On Helmet

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Steelers Cam Heyward says he is "surprised" and Ben Roethlisberger says it's the choice of Alejandro Villanueva to cover up Antwon Rose's name on the back of his helmet Monday night with the name of a military veteran instead.

Heyward says at first he was unaware Villanueava changed the name on the back of his helmet. But now says he is "surprised" his teammate decided to cover up Rose's name.

Roethlisberger said, "I did not know about Al's choice for the back of his helmet. That's his choice and that's the amazing thing about the country we live in. It is what it is."


During the Steelers' game against the New York Giants on Monday night, Villanueva veered off course from his teammates and wore the name of a military veteran, Alwyn Cashe.

According to the Military Times, Cashe was killed in 2005 while serving in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Cashe, a Sgt. 1st Class, died while rescuing fellow soldiers from a burning vehicle. He was posthumously awarded the Silver Star.

Before kicking off the season, the Steelers announced that the team would all wear Rose's name on their helmets for the entirety of the 2020 season.

Tomlin addressed Villanueva's decision Tuesday afternoon during a press conference, saying they'd discussed the decision.

"As an organization, and myself as the head coach of the organization, we're going to support our players however they chose to participate and express themselves, or to not participate or not express themselves, as long as they do so thoughtfully and with class," said Tomlin Tuesday.

However Rose's mother criticized Villanueva after the game on her Facebook page.

"Let me very very very clear," Michelle Kenney wrote. "The Pittsburgh Steelers took a team vote. Obviously, one person didn't like the results so they chose to do something different. I have nothing against vets and absolutely appreciate everything that they have done and continue to do for us. But this one person showed us exactly who he is and obviously he didn't approve of how the vote turned out."

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

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