When the members of the Pittsburgh Steelers who are being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame were announced, there weren’t many surprises. Troy Polamalu having his defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau present him. Art Rooney II being Bill Cowher’s choice. They all made sense.
Then news hit of Alan Faneca choosing Hines Ward to present him. This raised eyebrows for multiple reasons. First, an offensive lineman having a receiver present him? Second, was how this clearly was Faneca helping to shine the light on Ward as a potential Hall of Famer himself, similar to what Tony Dungy did for Donnie Shell.
So, why did Faneca choose Ward? Let him explain...
“I was really thinking about a teammate from the beginning,” Faneca told Teresa Varley of 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.”
What was Ward’s reaction to getting this call from Faneca? Well, nothing. He was speechless, which is quite the feat for Ward.
“He was caught off guard,” said Faneca. “I wanted to do it and record it. I wanted to do it over Facetime. He had trouble getting Wi-Fi when I was trying to reach him. I was trying for about 36 hours to reach him. He was like is everything okay, he started to worry. I told him everything was fine. I just needed to talk to him.
“He was surprised. I think it knocked the wind out of him a little bit. He was honored and it was great.”
Faneca was smart enough to capture this moment on video. Check out the FaceTime call when he told Ward he wanted him to present him this summer at the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.