Alan Faneca is free to get paid like a guy who's made 7 straight Pro Bowls should be. And perhaps no one deserves it more.
"Big Nasty" has been a favorite of this blog's editor for a long time. As a young buck, we actually got his autograph his first training camp in Latrobe when they used to let fans run onto the field and get up close to the players. The first target of ours wasn't the most popular players of the day like Jerome Bettis, Levon Kirkland or Kordell Stewart (ha!) that most swarmed too, but a childhood hero Dirt Dawson. Faneca was the next closest, and as a rookie, was unoccupied by the masses so he was next, sparking a decade long rooting interest that will not end at 11:59 PM tonight when he's no longer a Steeler.
The most visible highlight of Faneca's Steeler career was easily the one that sprung Willie Parker on a record 75 yard Super Bowl run. Many people (including us) thought Faneca should have probably been named MVP of the disjointed game, given the impact this one hit made.
All the best to a consumate pro who's at the top of his game and is moving on. The Steelers will be lucky to replace Faneca with someone half as competant. But at least the replacement will fit right in with the rest of the current subpar o-line.
If you're keeping track at home (and you're probably not), this makes two of our favorite Pittsburgh athletes leaving in a matter of days, not to mention the passing of a Pittsburgh institution. The times they are a'changin.
This is Hooks Orpik....On sports.*
*We've always wanted to say that just once.