LATROBE, Pa. – If the Steelers offensive line were part of the selection committee, Alan Faneca would already be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
They are fans of his, not just because he wore the black and gold and is helping them during training camp, but because they know the type of player he was.
"A guy like him, he is a Hall of Famer in all of our books," said Ramon Foster. "We have heard so much about him, know much about him, what he accomplished. Having him here passing on his wisdom and stories, I think it's cool as ever. I enjoy having him around every year."
Faneca, a Hall of Fame finalist the last two years, has been working with the Steelers' offensive line and tight ends as a coaching intern during training camp for the second straight year.
"It's fun. It's good to be back," said Faneca. "Having done it last year, knowing the guys, checking back in on them and seeing how they have progressed, what they are up to, their off the field life, it's been fun."
Being back around the game he loves so much is something Faneca has given a lot of thought to. He said he would love to get into coaching if the situation is right, and is taking advantage of this opportunity to continue to learn from offensive line coach Mike Munchak and tight ends coach James Daniel.
"You play football your whole life and then you are away from it," said Faneca. "To come back and be a part of it again is fun. You retire, leave the game, and everyone asks if you miss playing. The answer generally is no. I miss it during the playoffs and the guys in the locker room, that kind of stuff. That is what most guys would tell you they miss. Here I solve one of those, being back in the atmosphere, enjoying football. It's something I have come to enjoy and I really could see myself doing it."
The highlight for him now is being able to share some tricks of the trade and some tips, especially with the younger players who have said his guidance has been helpful.
"You don't always know if things sink in when you say things," said Faneca. "You have to tell different guys different things. Different guys are at different stages of their careers. To know some of them retain it and put it to use feels good.
"I always try to find stuff they haven't been told before, didn't know and try to put it to use. If you see somebody do something, not a mistake, where the block is harder than it should be, and if they can try something different, to give them that little tidbit to make their life easier, that is a win for me."
And for the Steelers offensive line, a win for them would be seeing Faneca get his due and be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
"I appreciate their support a ton," said Faneca. "I have just as much respect hearing it coming from those guys. Those are the guys in the trenches doing the same things I have done. It's nice to know they have that kind of respect for me, the game and the guys who came before them."