The Jets have an NFL-high and franchise-record seven players named to this year's Pro Bowl. Newyorkjets.com will profile each all-star this week before practices begin in Hawaii next week. Today: Alan Faneca.
Playing football in Honolulu doesn't get old for eight-time Pro Bowler Alan Faneca.
"It's exciting, man," said the left guard. "It's always a fun time. You can't complain about being out on a beach in Hawaii."
This will be the eighth consecutive trip for the red-haired veteran, so by now Faneca and his family have gotten the lay of the land.
"Yeah, we've been fortunate to be there enough where we've kind of got our favorite spots," Faneca said of Hawaii. "We know the good places to go eat. We've kind of got our little routine of where we go and what we do. It's a good time."
Although Faneca wishes the Jets were in the Super Bowl, he said he's happy with the outcome of last week's championship games.
He clearly knows many people on the Steelers as well as the Cardinals, including head coach Ken Whisenhunt, who was the offensive coordinator during Faneca's last three seasons in Pittsburgh.
The Jets signed Faneca as an unrestricted free agent in March of '08 to upgrade the left guard position.
"Alan is regarded as one of the best offensive lineman in the NFL and we are fortunate to add him to our roster," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said after his signing.
With 10 seasons of experience as a Pittsburgh Steeler, Faneca was seen as providing a great opportunity to mentor the Jets' 2006 first-round draft picks, LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson and C Nick Mangold.
Mangold, who was selected to his first career Pro Bowl this year, said Faneca was a tremendous help throughout his third NFL season.
"I think, obviously, having him at left guard and his abilities is a huge help," he said. "But then, his help in the classroom, his advice on and off the field, the way he prepares, just a lot of things, and he's got 11 years of information stored up in his head, so it's great to be able to pick at that day in and day out."
Faneca and the offensive line paved the way for the Jets' ninth-place finish in the NFL in rushing this season, led by a record-breaking year for Pro Bowler Thomas Jones, and helped them jump from 25th in passing the previous year to 16th.
The 26th overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft out of LSU, Faneca is a five-time All-Pro. In his career, he has helped three running backs earn Pro Bowl berths — Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker on the Steelers and Jones.
"It's exciting every time," he said of playing in the Pro Bowl. "It's such a huge honor – voted on by your peers, coaches you play against and fans alike. It's definitely a great honor, my first time as a New York Jet."