Ed Bouchette, of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, reports Steelers guard Alan Faneca says he will report for training camp. “I’ll be there. I don’t think I’ll have bells on, but I’ll be there,” Faneca said. This is news that will make Pittsburgh Head Coach Mike Tomlin more comfortable and Steelers’ fans jumping for joy. Alan Faneca has been a perennial Pro-Bowl lineman throughout his whole career and still gives himself entirely to the team. Going 100% at left offensive guard, this LSU standout picked 26th overall in the ’98 draft has been a mainstay on this line for years, and maybe more to come.
Faneca, coming into his 10th NFL season, is consistent and needs to be in camp to support a young o-line that includes mammoth OT Max Starks. He opens holes for feature back Willie Parker and helps in pass protection for his QB Ben Roethlisberger. At 6-foot 5, 307 pounds he is mobile enough to pull on outside runs, pitches, and screen plays up the field blocking. Being there for camp shows the other young players and team that everyone needs to be there, no exceptions, especially if he is there at work. He wants a new contract, but is doing the right thing by saying he will report to training camp participating in the all the drills. Mike Tomlin needs all the veterans there as an example and his talk earlier in the off-season with the Pro-Bowl guard might’ve shed some light on the contract situation and a potential problem down the road. Pittsburgh will have to count on him more this season with a young, unproven center in Chukky Okobi.
Faneca will need to be there to help mentor Okobi and show him the ropes, as he replaces the position Jeff Hartings held down for so many years, excelling as the starting center for those winning Steelers’ teams. He is ranked eight overall, during the “Bill Cowher Era” an article done my site editor and Steelersgab.com writer Matt Loede, looking at the Top 15 players coached by the legendary Cowher. You can see why he means a lot to this club and is a main reason why the Steelers continue to run the football so well and successfully have 1,000-yard runners every year. It can be stated here: (By an article also written by Matt Loede – May 13.) The entire saga of Pro-Bowl guard Alan Faneca has put yet another chink in the armor of what the team has always seemed to have – and that is unity among the coaches, players and ownership. Never has the team had to undergo such stinging comments like they have over the past few days, with a player like Fanaca coming out and basically saying you’d better like what you see of him in 2007, becuase in 2008 he’ll be gone. “This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler,” Faneca said on Friday.
“I’ve been asking since February to trade me, to let me go,” Faneca said. “I’ve done my piece, I’ve done my time, I’ve done everything I can for this organization. I lived and breathed Steelers football for nine years and gave them everything I had, helped them win a Super Bowl. In my mind, I’ve earned the right to be treated fairly. To make me go out there this year, play football with no security : for what I’ve done for this organization, in my mind is not right.” Looking at this article from more than two months ago, you can see by reviewing what Faneca said way back in February, he is given it his all and is a huge part of the franchise, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Coach Tomlin should count their blessings that Faneca is a class act and a professional – going to be there on time at training camp.
He is almost irreplaceable and is the key to an offensive line that is regressing. Steelers’ fans can now take a “sigh” of relief and take a deep breath knowing that one of their most important and integral parts of the offense will attend camp from the start, showing his commitment to the organization as a rough, tough “throwback” player and “true” winner for the Black & Gold.