guard Alan Faneca
announced his retirement Tuesday, ending a 13-year career that began with the Pittsburgh Steelers
and included the New York Jets
and one season with the Cardinals.
The nine-time Pro Bowler has proven to be one of the more durable linemen in recent history, missing just two games since he was drafted 26th overall by the Steelers in 1998. Faneca won a Super Bowl with the Steelers following the 2006 season.
"After a lot of thought I am announcing my retirement from professional football," the 34-year-old Faneca said in a statement obtained by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
. "Playing in the NFL has been a childhood dream come true. Thirteen years later I have decided that it is time to move on.
"I want to specifically thank the Steelers, Jets, and Cardinals. Each and every teammate, coach and front office employee has made a lasting impact on my life. It was a pleasure playing for first class organizations who surrounded me with incredibly dedicated individuals. I want to thank each of the beat writers that covered me throughout my career. These guys work hard and always treated me with respect. I want to also thank the fans. The roar of the crowd kept me going more than the fans will ever know.
"It is time to move on to the next chapter in my life. I can't wait to spend more time with my family. Playing in this league for as long as I did takes sacrifice, not only by me, but by each of them. I want to thank Julie, Annabelle and Burton for allowing me to fulfill all of my boyhood dreams. I couldn't have done it without you."
Faneca, the Steelers' first-round draft pick out of LSU in 1998, played in 206 NFL games. His string of 144 consecutive starts was the longest active streak for a guard and third longest for any offensive lineman, behind Kansas City center Casey Wiegmann
(158) and Detroit tackle Jeff Backus
"Alan has always been and always will be the ultimate pro," Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt said in December. "He's a very good leader, he's a hard worker, he's very professional about what he does. The guys gravitate toward him. You can't have enough of those guys on your team."