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Pittsburgh Steelers Coach Mike Tomlin Supports Alejandro Villanueva Wearing Military Veteran's Name On Helmet, Covering Antwon Rose Jr.

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin says he supports Alejandro Villanueva's decision to cover up the name of Antwon Rose II on his helmet, wearing the name of a military veteran instead.

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

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.

He went on to say that was a "blanket approach," so he didn't think Villanueva's decision needed any further explanation. Tomlin said this summer that it was the team's intention to support players in what they decide to do -- like kneeling.

WATCH: KDKA's Royce Jones Has Reaction From Steelers Fans

According to the Military Times, Cashe was killed in 2005 while serving in the Army during Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Steelers Antwon Rose Jr.
(Photo Credit: Pittsburgh Steelers)

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.

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

antwon rose new background
(Photo Source: STK, Embrace Life/Facebook)

The Steelers say this year, the NFL is allowing players to wear helmet decals honoring victims of systemic racism, so they chose Antwon Rose. He was 17 when he was shot and killed by a police officer in 2018.

Philadelphia Eagles running back and Pittsburgh native Miles Sanders also chose to wear Rose's name on his helmet. 

(Photo Credit: Miles Sanders/Instagram)

Reactions to Villanueva's decision were mixed.

Some mentioned that this isn't the first time Villanueva has gone against a team decision.

In 2017, Villanueva was the lone member of the Steelers to take the field for the playing of the national anthem. 

Others said that Cashe was a hero and Villanueva should not have to defend his decision.

It's unclear if Villanueva will continue to display Cashe's name moving forward.

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