Former Steelers guard Alan Faneca announced his retirement from professional football today after a 13-year career that included nine Pro Bowl appearances and a Super Bowl XL victory with Pittsburgh in 2006. Faneca was also awarded roster spots on both the Pittsburgh Steelers All-Time Team and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team.â†µ
The 35-year-old Faneca was a first-round draft pick in 1998 and played for a decade along the Steelers offensive front. While he excelled in pass protection, he quickly became famous for pulling on power rushing plays, springing Steelers backs from Jerome Bettis to Duce Staley to Willie Parker for big gains.
In 2008, after Faneca's second contract with the team had expired, Pittsburgh let the aging guard walk via free agency. Faneca signed a $40 million deal (making him the highest-paid offensive lineman at the time) with the New York Jets, where he played for two seasons, followed by a one-year stint with the Arizona Cardinals under former Steelers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
Here is Faneca's statement:â†µ
"After a lot of thought I am announcing my retirement from Professional Football. Playing in the NFL has been a childhood dream come true. Thirteen years later I have decided that it is time to move on.â†µ
"From the dog days of training camp to winning a Super Bowl the memories are endless. The greatest memory that I will leave the game with is all of the lifelong friendships I have madeâ†µ
"I want to specifically thank the Steelers, Jets, and Cardinals. Each and every teammate, coach and front office employee has made a lasting impact on my life. It was a pleasure playing for first class organizations who surrounded me with incredibly dedicated individuals. I want to thank each of the beat writers that covered me throughout my career. These guys work hard and always treated me with respect. I want to also thank the fans. The roar of the crowd kept me going more than the fans will ever know.â†µ
"It is time to move on to the next chapter in my life. I can't wait to spend more time with my family. Playing in this league for as long as I did takes sacrifice, not only by me, but by each of them. I want to thank Julie, Annabelle and Burton for allowing me to fulfill all of my boyhood dreams. I couldn't have done it without you."â†µ
While it is notoriously difficult to evaluate offensive linemen, it is even more difficult to imagine that Faneca won't be inducted into the Hall of Fame. And of course, he'll be remembered most as a Steeler.