Updated: Jul 16
(Photo by David Maxwell/Getty Images)
Alan Faneca announced on Instagram this morning that Hines Ward will be his Hall of Fame presenter when he gets inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame this August.
Faneca and Ward both came into the league together in 1998 after they were drafted by the Steelers and were teammates for 10 seasons up until Faneca signed with the Jets in free agency in March of 2008. As teammates, they both made numerous Pro Bowls and won a Super Bowl together during the 2005-2006 season.
"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."
Faneca said back in March that Ward belongs in Canton as well.
"My first answer to that is, I better, because he deserves it," Faneca said on "The Eye Test for Two" podcast via 93.7 The Fan. "You know he absolutely, 100 percent deserves it ... like you said, he doesn't have the numbers, per se, like other receivers are gonna have.
"But the things that he did, they might not add up and he might not have the stats, but the impact he had on the game when he went out there and played, you know? People tuned in to watch Hines Ward and to see what Hines Ward was doing. They came to games to watch Hines and see the big hits and the blocks and the big plays and the reverses and the passes, and they came to see Hines Ward. He deserves that gold jacket and I hope that one day he gets it, and he's not 60-70 years old when he gets it, because he deserves to get it and enjoy it."
Faneca is a nine-time Pro Bowler (2001-2009) and was named first-team All-Pro six times in his career (2001, 2002, 2004-2007). Faneca was named second-team All-Pro in 2003 because he moved from left guard to left tackle for nine games because of injuries to the Steelers’ tackles. If it wasn't for that, he would have been named first-team All-Pro in seven consecutive seasons. Faneca was also selected as second-team All-Pro in 2008, which was his first season with the Jets after the Steelers didn't re-sign him due to a disagreement in negotiations.
Faneca was also named to the Steelers All-Time Team and the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Faneca missed just two games in his 13-year career, one because of an injury in his second season in 1999 in Week 4 against the Jaguars. And the other coming in 2001 when Bill Cowher rested some starters in a meaningless Week 17 contest against the Browns due to having the No. 1 seed sealed already. Faneca was also penalized just four times for holding in his 13-year career.
Faneca started 201 of 206 regular-season games and all 14 postseason games. He was 7-4 with the Steelers in the playoffs and was a part of the Steelers' 2005 team that won the Super Bowl. In Super Bowl XL, Faneca pulled to the right and delivered a key block on a counter play that sprung running back Willie Parker free for a 75-yard touchdown, which is still the record for the longest rushing touchdown in Super Bowl history. The Steelers went on to defeat the Seahawks 21-10 in Super Bowl XL to capture their fifth Lombardi Trophy.
Faneca will be formally enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Sunday, Aug. 8, with the rest of the Class of 2021, which includes Steelers "super scout" Bill Nunn.