(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Former Steelers guard Alan Faneca was nominated to the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2021 back in February and will be formally inducted this August. To prepare for the big moment this summer, Faneca and his wife, Julie, recently went on a tour of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
"The virtual meeting was about scheduling, talking about the ring sizing, jacket, doing things on our own instead of going there and getting it done," Faneca said via Teresa Varley of Steelers.com. "We couldn't have pulled it off or attempted to do it all virtually. To get the lay of the land, meet the people and talk about it with them. You get a sense of what the Hall of Fame means to the local community when you go there and how it's intertwined with everybody. We'll be more prepared and successful by going.
"When we were having the virtual zoom meeting, it didn't feel like we were missing a ton. But after going there you realize that we needed to go and enjoy and see everything up close and personal."
Along with being greeted by Hall of Fame President and CEO David Baker and his staff at the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Faneca was also welcomed by a bunch of Steelers fans.
"It was very unexpected. I wasn't even thinking about that," Faneca said.
"I thought we were just showing up for a meeting and we got this big greeting and welcome. It was so nice for them to do that. We got to meet everybody, learn what they do in the Hall. Getting to meet them made it even more enjoyable. There were some Steelers fans there. They just happened to be there. They let them get in line and say hi and meet us."
Faneca also got to see artifacts from his career during the tour, which included his original draft card from when the Steelers selected him at 26th overall in the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU.
"They pulled out my draft card that got handed in when the Steelers drafted me," Faneca said. "That was very cool. I had never even seen a picture of that. That was a cool piece of my history. They had the program from my very first game. They also pulled out some old artifacts for us to look at. We saw the first contract signed by a player. The history behind it was amazing. We were in there for a while and they finally had to nudge us out of there."
Faneca said it was an emotional experience seeing all the Hall of Fame busts in Canton, knowing that he'll have a bust in that same room soon.
"Especially walking into the room where the busts are. It was emotional, it was a surreal moment. It brought it to a whole other level."
Faneca will be formally inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Sunday, Aug. 8, along with longtime former Steelers' "super scout" Bill Nunn and the rest of the Class of 2021.