Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Alan Faneca most remembered as a Steeler
By James Walker
I recall a moment with newly retired guard Alan Faneca in August 2008 while covering a preseason game between the New York Jets and Cleveland Browns.
It was a crazy day because the Jets had just signed quarterback Brett Favre. Despite being an AFC North writer based in Cleveland, my entire purpose at the preseason game was to document Favre's arrival to the Jets.
In the process of doing that, I interviewed Faneca after the game to get his take on all the attention that Favre was bringing to the team.
"It was definitely a different game day than normal," Faneca said. "You wake up, and everybody is talking about you on the news. Being a night game, you have nothing to do but watch what's on the TV in the room and you get caught up to date."
After our Favre chat, I asked Faneca how he was fitting in with the Jets. He said it would take him some time getting used to a new environment. At heart, Faneca was a Pittsburgh Steeler, and that was his first game in a different uniform.
That offseason, Faneca was disappointed the Steelers didn't offer him a contract extension. At the time, Pittsburgh did not want to overspend for an offensive lineman who was over 30, despite Faneca coming off another Pro Bowl season in 2007.
Faneca joined the Jets and made two more Pro Bowls. He also started all 16 games last season for the Arizona Cardinals and registered nine Pro Bowls total in his tremendous career.
Faneca was one of the most dominant and durable offensive linemen in the past decade and will be most remembered for his 10-year stint with the Steelers, with whom he won his only Super Bowl after the 2005 season. Faneca probably could have played another season or two but felt it was better to go out healthy and on his own terms, which was a good move.