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Faneca...

Ron Cook of the Post-Gazette , expects Faneca to be an Arizona Cardinal next year. He begins though by mentioning that Steelers fans need not be concerned about Faneca's no-show at voluntary workouts:

Don't worry about All-Pro guard Alan Faneca missing the Steelers' voluntary offseason workouts. Please repeat after me: They are voluntary, and this is the offseason. Big Al will be ready to go in July. He's always ready to go.

I agree. We have far bigger concerns than whether Faneca will be ready physically heading into a contract year. Even if Faneca knows in the back of his mind that he'd like to leave Pittsburgh for maximum scratch in another market next year, I doubt he'd waste anybody's time holding out during training camp.

Faneca has been around long enough to know that the Steelers never budge in contract negotiations. They'll either make an acceptable offer upfront that exceeds or at least rivals those signed by Steve Hutchison, Derrick Dockery, and Eric Steinbach, or they won't. But they're not going to stray too far from their initial offer to appease the ego of any one player, even a player as valuable and committed to excellence as Alan Faneca.

Cook believes the Cardinals would be the perfect fit for Faneca. He'd be reunited with his old chums Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm for starters. He might also be the missing link to making Arizona great Cook argues.

Anyway, I think this Faneca situation is going to tell us lots about our franchise and the state of the NFL Salary Cap. As Steeler fans, we like to believe that our organization is different. That our players are willing to sacrifice a few dollars to remain on the storied franchise. Now, we're confronted with the possibility of losing one of the faces of our franchise--our captain and perennial Pro-Bowler. We refer to Faneca as a 'True Steeler', not in the same egocentric mold as former Steeler stars Plaxico Burress, Antwaan Randle-El, et al.

Sadly, due to the inflated market for guards brought about by an ever-growing salary cap, we very well may lose one of our last 'True Steelers'.