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Faneca reflects on impressive career, leaving Pittsburgh

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Ed Bouchette of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls Alan Faneca the greatest guard in Steelers history.   We aren’t going to argue.

Faneca announced the end of his wildly successful career on Tuesday, 13 years after Pittsburgh took him in the first round out of LSU. Faneca said on SiriusXM NFL Radio Tuesday he made his mind up about a month ago, but wanted to wait until after the draft to announce the decision in case the Cardinals wanted to take a guard.  (They didn’t.)

Faneca overcame epilepsy as a kid to be one of the best guards of his era, and said the decision to retire was difficult.

“The first thing, when you start to talking about, seriously talking about, retirement I was like, am I allowed to quit playing football?” Faneca told Rich Gannon and Adam Schein.   “I mean, I’ve been playing football since fourth grade, every fall lacing up the cleats and putting on the helmet and shoulder pads.  It’s like, are you even allowed to think about not playing football, because you’ve been doing it for so long?”

While he helped the Jets and Cardinals, Faneca will always be remembered as a Steeler.

“It hurt to leave, I’ll say that much.  It hurt to leave.  I did not want to leave Pittsburgh,” Faneca said.   “I had spent 10 years there and had a lot invested in the organization, enjoyed playing for it, had a lot of fun.  I walked off that field and sat in my locker and I bawled for about 10 minutes after that last game when we lost to Jacksonville in the playoffs.”

Tuesday was a day for different emotions and reflection for Faneca.  We wish him all the best in whatever he chooses to do next.

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16 Responses to “Faneca reflects on impressive career, leaving Pittsburgh”
  1. micksalot says: May 10, 2011 5:30 PM

    Faneca was a great Steeler. Good luck in retirement! Class act.

  2. holeinone09 says: May 10, 2011 5:58 PM

    As a Steeler fan, and while I understand this is a business, I was not happy when he left. Not sure if they could have met somewhere in the middle for compensation, but I really wish he could have stayed a Steeler. Nonetheless, he had 10 great years with us, was completely reliable on the OL, and had an excellent career. When he gets voted into the HOF, he will go in as a Steeler, as he should, and take his place with the other all-time greats. Enjoy your retirement Alan. Thanks for the memories.

    I wonder if he coaches?


  3. sack1118 says: May 10, 2011 6:33 PM

    Thanks for the memories, Alan. We appreciated your lunch pail attitude….and blue collar work ethic. You are a true STEELER.

  4. thetechnocrat says: May 10, 2011 6:44 PM

    He was an absolute beast and his retirement now shows that the Steelers know when to dump their aging vets before overpaying them. Good luck to him.

  5. cornellsteelers says: May 10, 2011 6:49 PM

    “…I bawled for about 10 minutes after that last game when we lost to Jacksonville in the playoffs.”

    I’m glad I wasn’t the only one.

  6. tomthebombtracy says: May 10, 2011 7:07 PM

    Toughest thing in the NFL is that last contract for a superstar. Player wants MORE money but is capable of LESS on the girdiron.

    Franco left for Seattle…a disaster. Alan Faneca.
    Joey Porter. And sometimes the team guesses wrong like Rod Woodson, who moved positions and reinvented himself.

  7. cup1981 says: May 10, 2011 7:59 PM

    Do Steeler fans forget WHY Faneca left? Remember he said he wasn’t even going to play his final year for the “piddly” 4.5 million dollars left on his contract. He then bitched about Tomlin getting the job over Russ Grimm. Wha wha whaaaaa

    I loved Faneca’s play and he was the best guard the Steelers ever had. That said, him “bawling” when he left seems like some BS to me…

    Happy retirement Faneca, I will try to remember the good years with you as a happy Steeler.

  8. pistol0928 says: May 10, 2011 8:19 PM

    Thanks for the memories Alan! Loved you with the Steelers you were a BEAST!

  9. axespray says: May 10, 2011 9:04 PM

    “he made his mind up about a month ago, but wanted to wait until after the draft to announce the decision in case the Cardinals wanted to take a guard. (They didn’t.)”

    idk if it’s just me, but that kinda sounded like a jerk move on his part, they were probably like, “oh yeah, he’ll be back, no need for a guard.”
    (cardinals draft other posistions).

  10. laxer37 says: May 10, 2011 9:46 PM

    Once again the Steeler organization shows a knack for letting guys walk right as their skills begin to diminish. He had one productive season after he left Pittsburgh.

    Successful teams don’t let their emotions get in the way of personnel decisions.

  11. brownsfrown says: May 10, 2011 10:33 PM

    Hey, Alan…

    You could play right tackle for the Clowns in lieu of “Swinging Gate” St. Clair and still make the pro bowl if we amputated one of your arms (your choice) and made you play in clown shoes!

    Have a happy retirement! Hope the Clowns never have to face another one of you!

  12. halftermguv says: May 10, 2011 11:29 PM

    @ cup1981

    Exactly! Faneca had obviously slowed down and was insulted by the Steelers offer. Players are free to chase bigger contracts but not reinvent the circumstances of how they left a team.

  13. elmoron says: May 10, 2011 11:47 PM

    Nothing but class. Really enjoyed watching him play, with the Steelers and with the Jets. As far as leaving Pittsburgh, he was looking out for his family then, and he’s certainly doing that again now. I’d vote for him if I could.

  14. Topher says: May 11, 2011 12:38 AM


    I thought the same with you at first. I scratched my head for a minute.

    I guess he meant he told the organization but didn’t announce it publicly so that other teams wouldn’t know the Cardinals were shopping guard.

  15. mullwall412 says: May 11, 2011 12:54 AM

    Def top 5 steelers of my short life love him wish him the best also he left on relatively good terms compared to a lot of other players

  16. AKA Slow Joe (Bucs fan) says: May 11, 2011 4:26 PM

    What Topher said. He didn’t want the Cards to be handicapped by the rest of the league knowing they may need a guard. He was doing the Cards a favor.

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