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As Steelers remain in locker room for anthem, former Army Ranger Alejandro Villanueva stands alone
The Pittsburgh Steelers players take the field immediately following the playing of the national anthem. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

In Chicago, the Bears linked arms on the sidelines, while the vast majority of Steelers players abandoned them entirely as the national anthem played prior to their 1 p.m. game at Soldier Field.

Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin and several members of his Steelers staff stood at attention at the 50-yard line, while left tackle Alejandro Villanueva, who served three tours of duty in Afghanistan, stood just outside the locker room tunnel, hand over his heart, singing along. The rest of the Steelers roster remained inside the tunnel.

Prior to the game Steelers Head Coach Mike Tomlin announced the team’s intentions to CBS reporter Jamie Erdahl.

“We’re chasing something special here in 2017 and we’re not going to play politics,” Tomlin said. “We’re football players. We’re football coaches. We’re not participating in the anthem today. Not to be disrespectful to the anthem, but to remove ourselves from the circumstance.

“People shouldn’t have to choose. If a guy wants to go about his normal business and participate in the anthem, he shouldn’t have to be forced to choose sides. If a guy feels the need to do something, he shouldn’t be separated from his teammate who chooses not to. So we’re not participating today. That’s our decision. We’re going to be 100 percent. We came here to play a football game. That’s our intent.”

League rules require teams to participate in the national anthem or face penalties including a fine, suspension or loss of a draft pick. A league official told The Post’s Mark Maske the key word in the rule is “may,” adding he won’t speculate on whether the Steelers would be disciplined.

NFL anthem protests: Sunday brings a tidal wave of responses to President Trump

Sunday is seeing the strongest demonstrations yet by NFL players, directly responding to President Trump’s demand of NFL owners to “fire or suspend” players for protesting inequality and police brutality. Trump’s tweets brought comments from the league, the players’ association, stars such as Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, and even some longtime Trump backers, including New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and former coach/ESPN analyst Rex Ryan.

Here is some of our coverage so far, and stay tuned as we keep you updated throughout the day:

Trump demands NFL teams ‘fire or suspend’ players or risk fan boycott

Jaguars owner joins players in demonstration before London game

NFL players, including Aaron Rodgers and Tom Brady, weigh in

Patriots owner Robert Kraft ‘deeply disappointed by the tone’ of Trump’s NFL comments

Broncos’ Derek Wolfe says he stands during anthem for ‘the men who died in real battle’

London Fletcher: If I was still in the NFL, I would demonstrate

Jenkins: NFL shows restraint in the face of vulgarity — and gets it right

NFL owners, team presidents and chief executives react to President Trump’s comments

Donald Trump’s long, stormy and unrequited romance with the NFL

NFL Week 3: President Trump urges boycott over player protests, injury updates, scores, fantasy football tips

Trump turns sports into a political battleground with comments on NFL and Stephen Curry

Roger Goodell responds to Trump’s call to ‘fire’ NFL players protesting during national anthem

Group led by Dolphins owner wants to see every professional athlete registered to vote

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