Alan Faneca Relives The Time He Got 13 Stitches (And Kept Playing)

A fun offseason memory for you guys this Wednesday. At the time, this probably wasn’t as fun for Alan Faneca but years later, and with a gold jacket in his closet, even he seemed to get a kick out of this flashback.

While putting together my Terance Mathis article a few days ago, I stumbled across this clip of Alan Faneca bleeding profusely from his forehead earlier in the same game. Blood down his face and onto his jersey. But as the NFL Primetime crew of Chris Berman and Tom Jackson noted, Faneca got stitched and wrapped up, didn’t miss time, and came back into the game to pull and throw a key block on this Jerome Bettis’ touchdown.

That clip got on Faneca’s radar who responded to it days later and added more detail about the moment.

Thirteen stitches that game and for the rest of the season and that Saints’ game came in Week 5, by the way. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh didn’t emerge victorious and their fourth quarter comeback stalled out, losing 32-29.

True to form, Faneca didn’t miss time and started all sixteen games this season. Faneca’s wrapped head was Pittsburgh’s favorite Halloween costume that year and longtime reader of the site Jeff Bruder said he and a couple buddies dosed themselves in ketchup and put towels over their foreheads to show Faneca.

Moments like this add to Faneca’s legend. His toughness, his durability, his warrior-like attitude that made him one of the era’s greatest linemen. Over his entire 13-year career, he failed to play in just two games and one was due to him being a healthy scratch during the 2001 regular season finale, a meaningless game for the Steelers.

It’s still a shame it took him so long to get inducted into Canton. But he’s there. And clips like this are quick reminders the type of player Pittsburgh had.

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