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Old 11-17-2007, 07:37 AM   #1
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Default When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

Friday, November 16, 2007
By Gerry Dulac, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

His teammates, especially the ones on the offensive line, swear there is nothing different about guard Alan Faneca, aside from a Bunyan-esque beard and red hair that flows to his shoulders.

They say his emotional rallying cry in the huddle on the winning touchdown drive against the Cleveland Browns, while conceding it was a little out of character, was not anything new.

Or that his post-touchdown celebrations with quarterback Ben Roethlisberger are a sign that Faneca, a six-time Pro Bowl selection, is savoring what appear to be his final days with the Steelers.

"To me, it wasn't too far off from how he normally is on game day, especially at crucial parts of the game," said left tackle Marvel Smith, who plays next to Faneca on the offensive line.

"He's been the same guy I've played with the last two years," said tight end Heath Miller. "He's going to give 100 percent no matter what."

"He was doing what a good leader does," said right tackle Willie Colon. "Alan has been doing it for a while."

Not many offensive linemen have been doing it as well for so long as Faneca, even for a franchise that boasts two of the greatest centers in NFL history -- Hall of Famer Mike Webster and seven-time Pro Bowl selection Dermontti Dawson.

He is in the middle of his 10th season with the Steelers, playing at the same level he always has, remaining the most important component in the offensive line that helps fuel the National Football League's No. 2 rushing attack.

Faneca, though, is also in the final year of a contract that will pay him $4,375,000, including a $1 million roster bonus, in 2007. And there appears to be no hope for renewal in sight -- a prognosis that has existed almost from the time Faneca had an uncharacteristic public spat with the organization in minicamp.

Nonetheless, Faneca said he has not approached this season any differently than the others, nor has he embraced what is happening on the field more fervently than past seasons. A possible exception is being humbled by his selection to the Steelers' 75th anniversary team, one of four current Steelers to be named to the all-time team.

"I don't think about it in that way," Faneca said. "It's a more generalized way -- that I've been here 10 years -- in that manner. I don't think anything else makes it mean any more or any less."

But, his teammates wouldn't blame him if he did.

"How can you not," Colon said. "He's only human. If you know it's your last time doing something ... it's what you want to make of it. He realizes it's out of his hands, all you can do is go out there and play his hardest."

Smith, who has been a starter since 2000, said he has had some small discussions with Faneca, 30, about his future with the organization, but it wasn't a "real important, sit-down conversation."

Added Smith: "To me, it's like business as usual. I don't see him sitting back, taking everything in, like it's the last time it's going to happen."

Nonetheless, Faneca stepped out of character when he came into the huddle and exhorted his teammates for what proved to be the winning touchdown drive in the 31-28 comeback victory against the Browns. According to guard Kendall Simmons, Faneca yelled: "You got to get it in [the end zone]. It's time to go. No matter who it is, we got to get it in and win this game."

"It put a little bit more fire in us," said Miller, who caught the winning 2-yard touchdown pass. "I don't think it's typically his demeanor, but, when something needs to be said, he'll step up and say it. He's the type of guy who has respect in this locker room. Everyone is going to listen when he says something because they know it's important."

Faneca said he did not recall exactly what he said, but he spoke up in the huddle because the offense had to go back on the field sooner than expected because of Joshua Cribbs' 100-yard kick return for touchdown. He said the offense was still tired from the previous drive that culminated with Roethlisberger's 30-yard touchdown run.

"It's a situation where we went down and scored, we had this big drive to get back in it, and they came back and scored a touchdown -- it kind of deflates you a little bit," Faneca said. "All of a sudden, you have to get back out there real fast. We got cut short on our break a little bit, and it deflates you a little. You have to get amped up to get back out there."
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Old 11-17-2007, 07:44 AM   #2
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

After his comments at minicamp, I was afraid Faneca would become a cancer on this team this season. I'm glad that hasn't been the case.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:10 AM   #3
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

I wasn't too thrilled with Alan's public displays during camp, but you've got to respect the guy for not slacking and still giving it his all, even though he pretty much knows he won't be playing with these guys next season. Kudos Alan.
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Old 11-17-2007, 08:35 AM   #4
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

Faneca during preseason pretty much broke my heart with all his comments and what not, but over the season my respect for him is back to normal. I love this guy for being around and doing a perfect job and he is a team player and if he does leave us i wish the best, but he will be missed!
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:22 AM   #5
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

Echo all previous replies.

Really. I don't want to think about where we would be without him on the line. The pressure in the trench this season is enough to triple Pepto Bismo sales in the Greater PGH area.
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Old 11-17-2007, 09:48 AM   #6
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

Man, oh man. What a shame to have to let him go.
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Old 11-17-2007, 10:03 AM   #7
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

Faneca is a stud, pure & simple.

The man deserves to be paid, as he is the best in the business.

He's handled this situation with class & dignity, and hopefully the Rooney's will crack open the check book and keep this man in black & gold.
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Old 11-17-2007, 03:37 PM   #8
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

I must have missed it, what was he saying in the preseason?
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Old 11-17-2007, 03:47 PM   #9
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tankus_Maximus View Post
Faneca is a stud, pure & simple.

The man deserves to be paid, as he is the best in the business.

He's handled this situation with class & dignity, and hopefully the Rooney's will crack open the check book and keep this man in black & gold.
I agree that he is deserving but we really cannot aford to give him the money he is asking for. I really want us to keep him but he will have take less money because we have to resign Ben this offseason.
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Old 11-17-2007, 04:48 PM   #10
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Default Re: When Faneca raises voice, Steelers listen

Put it this way. If you were paying a guy $10 an hour because when he was at his peak he could produce 100 widgets an hour, does it make sense to pay him $20 an hour when you know he'll only be delivering 75 widgets an hour next year, and only 50 an hour 3 years from now?

Let teams like the Browns overpay for a guy on the decline. That's not the Steeler way.
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