Alan Faneca, the greatest guard in Steelers history, announced his retirement today.
Faneca, 35, made nine Pro Bowls and was selected to the Steelers' 75th Anniversary all-time team. He played his first 10 seasons with the Steelers before signing as a free agent with the New York Jets in 2008. He played two years with the Jets and last season with the Arizona Cardinals.
The Steelers drafted him in the first round in 1998 from LSU and he became a starter his rookie season.
Faneca overcame epilepsy, a condition he discovered he had at age 15, to have what may some day become a Hall of Fame career in pro football.
Here is a statement Faneca released this afternoon:
"After a lot of thought I am announcing my retirement from Professional Football. Playing in the NFL has been a childhood dream come true. Thirteen years later I have decided that it is time to move on.
"From the dog days of training camp to winning a Super Bowl the memories are endless. The greatest memory that I will leave the game with is all of the lifelong friendships I have made
"I want to specifically thank the Steelers, Jets, and Cardinals. Each and every teammate, coach and front office employee has made a lasting impact on my life. It was a pleasure playing for first class organizations who surrounded me with incredibly dedicated individuals. I want to thank each of the beat writers that covered me throughout my career. These guys work hard and always treated me with respect. I want to also thank the fans. The roar of the crowd kept me going more than the fans will ever know.
"It is time to move on to the next chapter in my life. I can't wait to spend more time with my family. Playing in this league for as long as I did takes sacrifice, not only by me, but by each of them. I want to thank Julie, Annabelle and Burton for allowing me to fulfill all of my boyhood dreams. I couldn't have done it without you."
Ed Bouchette: firstname.lastname@example.org .