BATON ROUGE -- There is some good news for defensive tackles across the NFL. They no longer will face one of the meanest, nastiest and strongest interior run blockers the game has ever seen as nine-time Pro Bowl and former LSU All-America guard Alan Faneca announced his retirement Tuesday.
Faneca, 34, best known for his 10 great seasons with the Steelers (1998-2007) before finishing his career with the Jets and Cardinals the past three years, is a surefire Hall of Famer. Faneca played in 203 of 208 possible games during his 13-year NFL career.
"From the dog days of training camp to winning a Super Bowl the memories are endless," Faneca said in a statement released Tuesday afternoon. "The greatest memory that I will leave the game with is all of the lifelong friendships I have made."
Faneca was integral in the Steelers winning Super Bowl XL with the speed-power running combination of Willie Parker and Jerome Bettis. Playing mostly on the left side, in the eight years he played with Bettis (1998-2005), he helped "The Bus" rumble for 7,475 of his 13,662 career rushing yards, which ranks fifth in NFL history.
Faneca thanked everyone he interacted with over his years in the league, from teammates and coaches to the media and fans involved with all three organizations. "The roar of the crowd kept me going more than the fans will ever know," he said.
After the Steelers drafted Faneca 26th overall out of LSU in 1998, he was good enough to start as a rookie. Overall, through 2010, he played in 203 of 208 possible games for Pittsburgh, New York and Arizona, starting 201 of them. Even more impressive was that Faneca reached great heights in football despite battling epilepsy since he was 15.
"Playing in the NFL has been a childhood dream come true," Faneca said. "Thirteen years later I have decided that it is time to move on."
At LSU, Faneca was a consensus All-American and Outland Trophy finalist in his junior season of 1997. He was the winner of the 1997 Jacobs Award, given annually to the best blocker in the SEC, as selected by the league's coaches. He started all 36 career games at right guard, including three bowl wins.