Pittsburgh Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was still with the Detroit Lions when guard Alan Faneca was originally selected in the first-round of the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU. Even so, Colbert knew way back then that the Steelers guard would likely turn out to be a special player for Pittsburgh. During a Monday morning interview on DVE Radio, Colbert was asked to recall what he remembers about studying Faneca way back in 1998 and what his impressions of the guard were when he finally arrived in Pittsburgh.
“I was in Detroit when Alan was at LSU and we knew he was a unique player,” Colbert said. “We had high grades on him there. Alan just had a unique sense of balance and tenacity for his size. You know, a lot of times offensive linemen they have a mean streak to them. They have the size most more often than not, but to coordinate that and be able to stay on your feet and finish and sustain blocks in the run game, on the interior part of the line, or getting to linebackers and of course in pass protection and pulling and different things like that, I think Alan’s unique contact balance was really what separated him. And again, for offensive linemen to be able to get in the Hall of Fame, they have to do it over a sustained amount of time, which Alan did.”
Faneca did indeed perform just like Colbert said over a sustained period time as newly minted member of the 2021 Hal of Fame class played 13 years in the NFL with his first 10 being with the Steelers. Faneca ended his career as a six-time First-Team All-Pro and nine-time Pro Bowl selection. He played in 206 of a possible 208 regular season games during his long NFL career and started 201 of those.
Faneca, and the rest of the members of the 2021 Hall of Fame Class, that also includes former Steelers longtime scout Bill Nunn, will be enshrined during induction ceremonies scheduled for Aug. 5-9 in Canton, Ohio. The 2020 class, which includes former Steelers safeties Troy Polamalu and Donnie Shell and former head coach Bill Cowher also will be enshrined that same weekend after the coronavirus pandemic forced postponement of those ceremonies last summer.