Steelers lineman Alejandro Villanueva emerged from the locker room and stood just outside the tunnel during the national anthem before Sunday's game, which was a move the Steelers didn't anticipate, ESPN.com reported, citing a source.
The team agreed to stay in the locker room during the anthem before its game against the Bears. Villanueva, a former Army Ranger, reportedly agreed to stay with the team, but still went out to stand for the anthem.
"That's where the confusion came in," the source said.
During a players-only meeting, the team discussed what it should do to show a united front. Some methods tossed around were holding hands on the sideline or laying hands on teammates who decided to kneel.
"We thought we were all in attention with the same agreement, obviously," linebacker JamesHarrison told PennLive.com. "But I guess we weren't."
Pittsburgh teammates still showed their support for Villanueva, largely because of his service to the country.
"Al is a unique circumstance, what he's been through, some of the things he's talked about before," guard David DeCastro said. "I've got a lot of respect for Al. I wish there was a different way to do this thing. We've got some people who look at the national anthem as patriotism, soldiers, all the stuff that it means, and obviously, people are upset, and I understand that.
"I just wish both sides understand that they want the right thing, but doing it through the national anthem, I wish there was a different way."