Former Pittsburgh Steelers guard Alan Faneca is not set to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame until August, but he and his wife Julie recently took a preparatory visit to Canton anyways.
While the Fanecas had already met virtually with the Hall of Fame staff, they still wanted to make an in-person visit ahead of the actual enshrinement to make the process as easy as possible.
“The virtual meeting was about scheduling, talking about the ring sizing, jacket, doing things on our own instead of going there and getting it done,” Faneca told Steelers.com. “We couldn’t have pulled it off or attempted to do it all virtually. To get the lay of the land, meet the people and talk about it with them. You get a sense of what the Hall of Fame means to the local community when you go there and how it’s intertwined with everybody. We’ll be more prepared and successful by going.”
The Fanecas have known about Alan’s impending induction for quite some time, but it truly hit them as they arrived in Canton and saw a giant photo of him alongside the other members of the 2021 class.
“Diving on the highway there, I was like are you excited, are you excited,” Julie told Steelers.com. “We drove by it several times while we were there. I was like there you are again. I was always trying to snap another picture.”
Faneca was greeted by Pro Football Hall of Fame President David Baker and a few coincidental Steeler fans upon arrival, which he says made it all the more special.
“It was very unexpected. I wasn’t even thinking about that,” Faneca told Steelers.com. “I thought we were just showing up for a meeting and we got this big greeting and welcome. It was so nice for them to do that. We got to meet everybody, learn what they do in the Hall. Getting to meet them made it even more enjoyable. There were some Steelers fans there. They just happened to be there. They let them get in line and say hi and meet us.”
Faneca was also measured for his Hall of Fame ring, presented some artifacts from his career, including his original draft card, and shown where his bust will be displayed for years to come.
“We walked into the bust room, and I immediately got overwhelmed with a lot of emotion,” Julie told Steelers.com. “Usually when I get overemotional, I hide behind Alan and he blocks for me. My mask was soaking wet. It was like walking through there like wow…and then seeing Kevin Greene’s bust, it was all over.”
After being a finalist for selection five times previously, Faneca finally received football’s highest honor when he was elected a couple months ago. He is the 25th individual with primary ties to the Steelers organization to be selected.
Faneca was selected to nine Pro Bowls and named an All-Pro eight times during his legendary career. He was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 2000’s, and he won Super Bowl XL with Pittsburgh.