(Photo by George Gojkovich/Getty Images)
In Alan Faneca's Hall of Fame career, he was nominated to nine Pro Bowls (2001-2009) and was named first-team All-Pro six times (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.
The 2003 season where Faneca played nine games at left tackle was brought up during his Pro Football Hall of Fame press conference on Thursday.
"You know, my year out at left tackle was the easiest year I've had in my career on my body," Faneca said. "You're never on the backside of a play when you're a guard, but when you're a left tackle and you're on the backside, you really are on the backside. You're sealing a guy off or you're chasing down a linebacker and sealing him off. I never felt fresher (than) after that season at left tackle. I still give my left tackle buddies hell for stealing all the money out there. They're just out there cheating. But, no, it never crossed my mind to stay out there. I wasn't having near as much fun as I was at guard."
While 2003 was the easiest year on Faneca's body because he played over half the season at left tackle, the Hall of Famer 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.
So, how was Faneca so durable? He says it was a combination of luck, consciousness and taking care of his body.
"A lotta luck, man. A lotta luck. On top of the luck, there is a conscious effort to finishing plays and getting your legs out of the way from a pile," Faneca said. "There is a consciousness, an effort, of doing those types of things. You don't just have your guy blocked and stop. That's all of the sudden when the pile catches up with you, and you get an ACL. So there is a little bit of a conscious effort that goes into it. And the other side of it is all the off-the-field activities -- the chiropractors, the stretch coaches, doubling up and tripling up and seeing those guys in a week. Taking care of your body off the field is probably the biggest thing. And I used to always try and teach that to the young guys coming in. You're not always going to feel as fresh as you are right now at 21, 22. That side of your football game has to increase the older you get."