Steelers past, present and future will all become one this week as a part of the NFL Draft festivities.
Steelers legends and current players will be among those announcing the team's selections during coverage of the NFL Draft, which will be held in Kansas City on April 27-29.
Hall of Famer Alan Faneca will announce the Steelers second round pick in the NFL Draft, while current linebacker Alex Highsmith, joined by former linebacker LaMarr Woodley, will announce the team's fourth round pick from the Steelers Youth Flag Football Tournament in Guadalajara, Mexico.
Faneca will be attending the draft in person in Kansas City on Friday night along with his son, Burton.
"It's always nice to get back in and be a part of anything NFL related, anything Steelers related," said Faneca. "It's fun to step back into that world a little bit. And I'm bringing my son, Burton, with me. It's nice to really share those moments with my kids who weren't around much at all when I was playing. He's been asking lots of questions just randomly in the car. It shows me he's been thinking about it. He's excited. He loves to get back and be a part of it. To see that excitement and to be able to share with him gets me excited."
Faneca was drafted by the Steelers in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. He played 10 seasons for the Steelers and 13 overall in the NFL. He was a first team All-Pro selection an impressive six times (2001-02, 2004-07) and twice a second team selection (2003, 2008), and selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame as a member of the Class of 2021.
He remembers the excitement when he was drafted in 1998, even though he didn't know a lot about Pittsburgh at the time.
"It was such a crazy, exciting, uncertain time," said Faneca. "You're sitting around with your friends and family and you're waiting to find this big answer to your question. It was kind of a nerve wracking a little bit, but exciting day.
"I knew about football, but I didn't know anything about Pittsburgh. You know about what you see on television about the team, but that is about it. Once the excitement of getting drafted by the Steelers first died down, we were all sitting at the house, and I asked if anyone knows anything about Pittsburgh. I didn't get any answers. It was wild."
Faneca said he feels a similar type of excitement as he prepares to announce the arrival of one of the newest Steelers players.
"You're forever attached to that moment," said Faneca. "If I had been announced by a Steelers legend, I would definitely have felt a connection to them. I hope that whoever I announce feels a connection with me, because I know I will feel one with them."
Take a look at the current players who were drafted by the Steelers in the first round
Highsmith will be part of a Steelers contingent in Mexico for the draft, enjoying the sights and sounds, taking part in a Steelers Youth Flag Football Tournament, and of course keeping a close eye on the draft and being a key part of the Steelers announcement in the fourth round.
"It means a lot to be able to make this announcement," said Highsmith. "It's an honor. I am grateful to be able to do this. For them to ask me to be a part of it, it's really an honor. It's cool being able to announce someone else's dream come true. I still remember the feeling I had when my name was called. To be able to announce that for somebody else is a cool thing.
"And to do this in Mexico, it's amazing. I know the fan base is crazy for us down there. I talked to Najee (Harris) because he went there last year, and he said it's wild. I am excited to experience it. I am looking forward to seeing how excited the fans are going to be. I can't wait for it."
Highsmith said it will bring back memories of when he was drafted by the Steelers in the third round of the 2020 NFL Draft.
"I am always excited for the draft," said Highsmith. "I will be watching on Thursday but might miss some on Friday because we will be traveling. The NFL Draft is always a good time. Seeing guys' dreams come true is always cool. I was once in their shoes. I know what it is like. I love watching it every year."
Woodley, who will be on hand with Highsmith, is excited to be a part of the NFL's ever-growing coverage of the draft.
"I grew up a Steelers fan and it was an honor to be drafted here and to continue to be a part of this great organization," said Woodley. "The draft, how they have expanded it to give other players an opportunity to have cameras at their house, for them and their family to be on the screen, it's special. And to have current and former players, some of them you haven't seen in a while, at different places announcing the picks is special. You see them on the screen you think back and remember that player."