Alan Faneca has selected Hines Ward to present him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame later this year. Faneca shared the announcement on Instagram, showing a video of Faneca telling Ward the news. Ward’s reaction was priceless.
Both men were drafted by the Steelers in 1998. Faneca, out of LSU, in the first round, with Ward from Georgia in the third. The two were teammates from ’98 until 2007, when Faneca moved on to the New York Jets.
During a recent interview on “The Eye Test for Two” podcast, Faneca was first asked if he could see Ward one day getting voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Faneca’s answer was predictable.
“My first answer to that is: I better,” said Faneca. “Because he deserves it. He absolutely, 100 percent deserves it.”
Like it or not, Ward has a tough road to conquer in order to ultimately get himself enshrined in Canton, OH as his stats, era he played in and position he played, will make it challenging proposition for him to one day get a Gold Jacket and bust of his likeness. Faneca addressed Ward’s lacking statistical resume during his recent podcast interview.
“He doesn’t have the numbers per se that other receivers are going to have, so I think he kind of falls (into a category) like we talked about offensive guards, offensive linemen,” Faneca said during his interview. “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 it (are what made him special).”
Not many more people than Faneca know what kind of player that Ward was when he was on the field. It didn’t take Ward long to become one of the most feared blocking wide receivers in the NFL and that was a trait and reputation he prided himself as having. He effectively set a new standard in Pittsburgh for the Steelers when it came to how wide receivers were expected to play when not thrown the football. Faneca touched on that special aspect of Ward’s play during his interview.
“People tuned in to watch Hines Ward and to see what Hines Ward was doing,” Faneca said. “They came to games to see Hines and see the big hits and the blocks and the big plays and the reverses and the passes. They came to see Hines Ward. He deserves that Gold Jacket, and I just 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’s Hall of Fame wait finally ended this year after several years of being a finalist. In his 13-year career, he was named to nine Pro Bowls and made six All Pro teams. He won Super Bowl XL with Ward and the Steelers. Faneca made the key lead block to spring Willie Parker on his 75-yard touchdown run.
Ward is the second Steelers’ presenter for this upcoming Hall of Fame class. Bill Cowher chose Team President Art Rooney II as his presenter.
The Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on Sunday, August 8th.