The Pittsburgh Steelers organization had a great weekend in Canton, OH this August when five members of the team were enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. One of those players was offensive guard Alan Faneca.
Faneca, who was drafted by the Steelers out of LSU, knows a thing or two about the black-and-gold, and is why Rob “Stats” Guerrera interviewed Faneca to talk about his enshrinement, his favorite moments from the weekend, epilepsy and even the current Steelers team.
When he was asked about the current Steelers offense, the conversation naturally leans towards Ben Roethlisberger. He was asked if he had any concerns about Roethlisberger’s age, or arm, and what fans should expect from him in 2021.
“Don’t count him out, is what I would say.” Faneca said. “I think the offense as a whole fell apart and fell off the rails a bit. I think it’s easy to point to Ben. He’s an older guy, anytime there is an older guy it’s an easy guy to point to, especially the quarterback.
But if he were to give some doubters advice, it is simple. Don’t count Roethlisberger out.
“I think people shouldn't’ count him [Roethlisberger] out, I think he has some ball left in him.”
Since Faneca spent time with the Steelers, New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals, he knows a thing or two about changing offenses and overall schemes. Believe it or not, he feels this can be a positive, and something which could be happening for Roethlisberger who is learning Matt Canada’s system for the first time.
“It never hurts when you’ve been around a while, and you re-engage the brain by learning new plays and a new system.” Faneca stated.
Anyone who watched the Steelers in 2020 knows all about the Steelers’ pass-happy tendencies. Everyone from Art Rooney II, Kevin Colbert and Mike Tomlin have talked about running the ball better in 2021, and Faneca understands well how important this is to offensive success.
“I think the NFL game as a whole has changed, so I don’t know if you can really get back to the ground-and-pound how you did a decade ago. But I do think you need to mix it in.” Faneca added. “You have to keep people honest, be a little bit of 50-50 in some form or fashion and make people respect it. If you can do that, it will only open up the passing game as well.”
Faneca didn’t just talk about the current Steelers team, but also about Hall of Fame weekend. When he was asked what the coolest part of the process was while in Canton, OH, he didn’t hesitate to answer.
“One of the coolest things, for me, was when my son put my gold jacket on me Friday night. It was a really special moment, and the picture I have of him is worth a million bucks. The smile on his face...”
Faneca’s appreciation not just for the Hall of Fame, but Steelers Nation didn’t wane in Canton. In fact, he knew they were going to see all the Steelers fans, twirling their Terrible Towels, in attendance for all events over the long weekend.
“I knew fans were going to come out with so many of us going in, and the Terrible Towels were flowing at every event we went to.”
What most people might not know about Faneca is he suffers from epilepsy, a condition which can cause seizures. Faneca is using his name, and stardom, to help the cause by joining with SK life sciences to help people in the epilepsy community.
“SK life science came to me, and it’s all about reactivating the epilepsy community and getting them to rethink their medical path right now and not accept where they are as normal. Their normal can be better.”
“It’s all about engaging the community and trying to make their life better. That’s a simple thing I can get behind. Trying to make their lives better.”
Alan is partnering with pharmaceutical company SK life science to launch the STEPS Toward Zero movement to inspire the epilepsy community and educate them about the steps they can take today to get closer to zero seizures, the optimal treatment goal for people with epilepsy. For more information on the STEPS Toward Zero campaign you can go to STEPSTowardZero.com.
To hear more of the Faneca podcast, check it out in the player below. In the meantime, be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.