Former Steelers Guard Alan Faneca announced who will officially present him into the Hall of Fame in a video posted to his Instagram early Tuesday morning. Faneca, who teased that his decision was coming soon last week, decided on his former teammate Hines Ward to introduce him before his induction speech on stage in Canton.
Faneca and Ward were members of the same Steelers draft class in 1998. They also won Super Bowl XL together. Despite their connection, it’s not common for a receiver to induct a guard. While the pick of Ward might be a surprise to some, Faneca explained his thinking behind his decision when speaking to Steelers.com.
“I was really thinking about a teammate from the beginning,” Faneca told Steelers.com. “It’s so hard because so many people touch your life and I decided to go with Hines. We came in together, had such a bond, grew together as players and men.
“It’s odd to say an offensive lineman and a wide receiver having that bond, but we had a kindred spirit. We pushed each other, leaned on each other, and I think he is the perfect fit for the guy to introduce me.
“We went through so much together. Even before that, coming out of college, we were on a lot of All-America teams together. We made those trips and had that connection before we got to Pittsburgh. It’s just special. The whole journey is special, the process, to be able to acknowledge people along the way who were huge parts of your career, it means so much. To be able to acknowledge a guy like Hines who has meant so much to my career and my friendship off the field as well has just been great.”
Faneca was a finalist for selection five times before receiving football’s highest honor. He is the 25th individual with primary ties to the Steelers organization to be selected. With Faneca being elected, Ward is now the next Steelers great many feel deserves enshrinement. Ward’s case is one many have been debating for years.
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 2000s, and won Super Bowl XL with Pittsburgh.