Why should Alan Faneca make the Hall of Fame? Let these former Steelers tell you:
Trai Essex: ” Watching film on Red was like watching art in motion. I never knew o-linemen could have moves until I saw him spin of a d-linemen en route to cutting a linebacker in order to open up a screen pass that went to the house. A great player and an even better leader. He absolutely changed and elevated the ceiling of the impact a guard can have on the game. #GOAT”
First, can you let readers know what you’re doing with yourself since your time in the NFL?
Me and my buddy, I’ve been working with him. We’re doing training stuff – working as professional trainers for high school kids. We want to give them better training than what’s out there. Prepare them for college.
Coming from a small college like Villanova, you know how hard it is to make it in the NFL. What was the hardest adjustment for you?
It was very different for me as an undrafted free agent. I signed with New England first and I realized how much of a faster game it was and how much I needed to learn and the knowledge I needed to play faster. You think you know a lot about football then you get to the next level. I learned a lot but it seemed like so much information I needed to know. It was overwhelming. Studying a lot and learning the game like that – it felt new to me. I wasn’t playing as good football as I wanted really until I got to Pittsburgh. I wasn’t knowledgeable enough to play fast. The speed of the game is an issue because you need to know the playbook – you need to know that stuff to play faster. Otherwise you’re a step behind.
First – can you let us know what you’re doing with yourself now since your time in the NFL?’
I’m in Rockford, Michigan, north of Grand Rapids. I own a financial services company. I’ve been in financial services since I got out of football in 2000 and I started my own company in 2010.
I have a blended family – six kids, all out of K-12 except my youngest, who’s six years old.
First, tell me a bit about your coaching work at Kansas State. How did you get started there?
Yeah I’m coaching at Kansas State – I’m the Passing Game Coordinator. A former teammate of mine became the head coach there and gave me an opportunity to coach there. I wanted to be able to help change lives. I wanted to be an inspiration to young guys – to help them avoid the mistakes I made as a young man.
First, tell me a bit about how you got into broadcasting – was that something you always had an interest in as a post-NFL career?
It wasn’t something I was thinking about at all really. When I coached I didn’t have a TV or radio show. I was just looking at the team and helping the team. I had no thoughts about broadcasting.
First, can you let readers know what you are doing with yourself since your time in the NFL?
Oh I’ve been a full-time dad now since the NFL. It’s been more difficult than being a full-time athlete! There’s always something to do.
I also stay involved with the Titans, doing alumni appearances. And I stay connected to the business world through my relationships I made in the NFL. Really, I’m just enjoying life.
First, tell us how you got to become the Director of HR for the Carolina Panthers – what drove you in that direction?
When I left the Steelers I went to work for Duke Energy in Charlotte, North Carolina. I wanted to be in corporate. I started in government affairs and then moved to the services department. Something then hit me – why not HR? I had my degree in Labor Relations. I told my boss – the VP of Government Affairs that. He talked with the head of the department and I moved there and had been at Duke for seventeen years.
I was ready for a change though when I got an email from the NFLPA about a job opening at the Panthers. I submitted my resume and got selected for the job.
First, can you let readers know about how you got started in your broadcasting career?
During my kicking days in Pittsburgh I would do a radio show. When I went to New England they had me do a radio show there too. I thought, outside of times like when you have your hand on a Bible in the courtroom, how many times do you get where people have to listen you!
I fell in love with sports in general. Hockey, everything. There was a common thread across all sports in the people’s stories that play them. I learned not to say “I know because I played.” I did it once and hated how it sounded. After a while I was able to forget that I played.
First, you recently retired from the NFL. What are you doing with yourself now?
I’ve started a non-profit – Above the Hills. I’m providing young children of color history and education about life outside the United States. I’m trying to help them make the right choices. They come from tough backgrounds and I’m trying to show them that they don’t have to be a product of the environment they are raised in. They can be the product of the choices they make, Not their environment.
First, tell us a bit about your new venture?
I’m working with a data company called Impellia. It’s actually a suite of platforms which makes it unique to help with injury prevention, sports performance, and the rehabilitation process for players. A lot of data companies are just one platform that regurgitates information. I chose to work with Impellia because it is different for two reasons. First, you can incorporate every platform you use and integrate them all into it. That allows you to get historical data. The second is its fully customizable. Instead of us dictating the information, you can make it what you want it to be to search for what you need to look for.
And the people. Rick, Charlie, and Dave – that’s a great cast of minds to join!