CANTON, Ohio – To cap off a full weekend of celebrating the history of the NFL, most notably the Pittsburgh Steelers, at the home of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, it was finally Alan Faneca’s moment to speak on stage in Canton, Ohio.
While his skilled position teammates throughout his playing career, and his fellow Hall of Famers who played more flashy positions, may garner more of the fame and attention, Faneca finally got his moment under the bright lights.
Faneca wasted no time in first thanking his family, friends and his Hall of Fame presenter Hines Ward, who he proclaimed will one day be on the Canton stage wearing a gold jacket with him. He then detailed his life story growing up, which included his dream of an NFL career hitting a major obstacle when he was diagnosed with Epilepsy at 15. Faneca took time to make it clear “epilepsy is part of me, but does not define me.”
After briefly recognizing the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals as the franchises he ended his career with, the 44-year-old Faneca spent most of his speech showing his love and appreciation for the Pittsburgh Steelers and everything he feels the Steelers represent. Faneca also made sure to touch on the love and support of his family showed him throughout his journey.
“There are choices, decisions and sacrifices we must make as athletes every day,” Faneca said while closing his speech. “The sacrifice and discipline to choose to be the best kinds of fathers, husbands, and respected leaders we can possibly be, is greater than any responsibility we ever had to deal with in football.”
It may have taken Faneca until his sixth year on the ballot before he heard the president of the Pro Football Hall of Fame David Baker knocked on his door, but none of that matters now.
The Steelers’ first-round pick out of LSU in 1998, Faneca played 13 NFL seasons, spending his first 10 years in Pittsburgh from 1998 to 2007. He was a member of the team’s Super Bowl XL victory. Over the course of his career, Faneca was named to nine Pro Bowls, was a six-time first-team All-Pro and a two-time second-team All-Pro. He also was named to the NFL’s 2000s all-decade team and the Steelers’ All-Time Team.