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Eagles Sign Former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva

Scott Boehm/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- After serving his country for the past four years, former United States Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva will get a chance to play in the NFL. The Philadelphia Eagles have signed him to a rookie free agent contract.

Vallanueva, who is a 6-foot-9 and 277 pounds, served three tours in Afghanistan and was recently promoted to captain.

The Eagles did not sign Villanueva purely for his size and heroics on the battlefield. In 2009 he played for Army's football team and was the team captain. That year, he led the team in receptions (34), yards (522), and touchdowns (5).

Villavueva performed at a regional combine in Detroit last month, and the Eagles decided he was worth taking a chance on.

He started out as a defensive lineman, then shifted to tackle, and then finally as a receiver. The Eagles are expected to use him as a defensive lineman as he makes his transition to pro football.

According to the release by the Eagles, Villanueva has earned the Bronze Star Medal for valor; the Ranger tab; the Parachutist Badge; the Bronze Star medal for overseas service; National Defense Service Medal; Afghanistan Campaign Medal with campaign star; Global War on Terrorism Service Ribbon; NATO Medal; and Combat Infantryman's Badge and Expert Infantryman's Badge.

Copyright 2014 ABC News Radio

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