Alan Faneca intrigued by coaching

PITTSBURGH -- When I emailed Alan Faneca on Tuesday asking if he had heard the news about Joey Porter, he wrote back, "I did see that about Joey. That’s great!"

Might Faneca one day follow his former Steelers teammate into the coaching ranks? It is something Faneca has been thinking about with some prodding by his wife.

"Julie’s always on me, ‘Man, you’ve got to spread some of that knowledge. You know too much,’ " said Faneca, who retired in 2011 following a 13-year NFL playing career. "It’s very intriguing and would be very exciting I think. I probably wouldn’t have said that last year or the year before. You step away from it and get that break and maybe you’re ready to get back into it a little bit."

It is easy to see Faneca, who recently ran a marathon and has been spending time with family in his native Louisiana, making the transition from player to coach if he chooses to go that route.

One of the greatest guards of his generation, Faneca was the consummate professional in every way. A brainy and brawny player, he knew how to prepare and knew what it took to succeed at the highest level.

He didn’t earn nine All-Pro selections based on natural ability alone.

His career should one day land him in the Pro Hall of Fame, and assuming that happens, Faneca left no doubt as to how he will enter Canton, Ohio.

"I definitely consider myself a Steeler," Faneca said.

That unequivocal answer shows Faneca is at peace with the way his Steelers career ended even though he and the organization didn’t have the most amicable split.

Faneca, upset when he thought the Steelers had backed out of a promise to take care of him following the 2006 season, played one more season in Pittsburgh before signing a five-year, $40 million contract with the Jets.

Both sides, in retrospect, could say there were right.

Faneca, as one of the best offensive lineman in Steelers history, had certainly earned another long-term contract. But the market for guard had increased dramatically as Faneca neared a new deal, and it effectively priced him out of Pittsburgh.

Faneca's perspective on how things played out in Pittsburgh has softened with time.

"I think it was the perfect storm of everything happening at the wrong time," Faneca said. "New coach, new regime, my contract. It’s unfortunate but looking back on it that’s what led everything to go down the path that it went on. You kind of have to move on."

Faneca did in the sense that he played two seasons for the Jets and one for the Cardinals before retiring.

But the Steelers remain a part of Faneca’s fabric, and he and his family return to Pittsburgh when they can and have scheduled a visit to the area next month.

"I didn’t get a chance to finish out with the team and that’s unfortunate (but) even when I left I still carried the Steeler way with me," said Faneca, who attended two Steelers games last season. "That’s what people wanted me to bring to their teams as well. Everybody wanted a piece of the Steeler way. Lots of people would try to ask me about what’s going on in Pittsburgh and I was like ‘You can’t recreate it. It’s its own little entity.’ "