--Guard Alan Faneca, who made the Pro Bowl nine times in his career, has retired.
In a statement sent from Faneca's agent to reporter Adam Schefter, Faneca said, "After a lot of thought I am announcing my retirement from professional football. Playing in the NFL has been a childhood dream come true. Thirteen years later I have decided that it is time to move on."
A first-round pick of the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1998, Faneca played 10 seasons with the Steelers, two with the New York Jets and the 2010 season with the Arizona Cardinals.
In those 13 seasons, Faneca missed just two games.
After revealing he was retiring this week, Faneca spoke about the decision on SiriusXM NFL radio.
"The first thing, when you start to talking about, seriously talking about, retirement I was like, am I allowed to quit playing football?" Faneca told. "I mean, I've been playing football since fourth grade, every fall lacing up the cleats and putting on the helmet and shoulder pads. It's like, are you even allowed to think about not playing football, because you've been doing it for so long?"
Faneca said the toughest experience came when he left the Steelers after 10 seasons.
He said, "It hurt to leave, I'll say that much. It hurt to leave. I did not want to leave Pittsburgh. I had spent 10 years there and had a lot invested in the organization, enjoyed playing for it, had a lot of fun. I walked off that field and sat in my locker and I bawled for about 10 minutes after that last game when we lost to Jacksonville in the playoffs.
Rex Hadnot is expected to be the replacement for Faneca.
--Prior to the draft, there was persistent speculation the Cardinals would sign quarterback Marc Bulger once free agency begins. Now, speculation is heavy they will be in the market for Eagles quarterback Kevin Kolb.
One thing is clear: the Cardinals will do something. Said general manager Rod Graves, "With respect to the quarterback question, which continually arises, we've decided as an organization that we are going to be aggressive. "We are expecting at some point, or believing, that we will have a free-agency period, an opportunity to discuss trades, and we are looking at those avenues."
Derek Anderson isn't back and the other quarterbacks on the roster are John Skelton, Max Hall and Richard Bartel. When asked if he was comfortable with Skelton as a starter or backup, coach Ken Whisenhunt said, "After you go 5-11, I'm not comfortable with anybody we had playing that position. You have to weigh your opportunities in the draft against other opportunities. It's a complete process. It's not an isolated process."
--Coach Ken Whisenhunt was in a good mood after the team took Texas linebacker Sam Acho in the fourth round.
"We are petitioning the NFL to let Sam wear No. 5 so he can be Acho Cinco," Whisenhunt quipped.
General manager Rod Graves, sitting next to Whisenhunt when the coach said that, piped in: "I wasn't a part of that."
--Sam Acho, the fourth-round pick, has graduated from Texas with a business degree and won an award recognizing him as the nation's top student athlete. He thinks his intelligence "helps me immensely" on the field. "You know, being a smart football player, 90 percent of the game is mental, so you have to be able to understand plays, understand defenses, understand other teams' offenses and know how to react within a defense."
--Fullback Anthony Sherman, the fifth-round pick, knows he plays a unique position that appears to be in a death spiral. "I think you have to have a couple of screws loose to be a fullback," he said. "You are running down there with 240-, 250-pound linebackers and colliding at full speed. It is one of those things where I don't think everyone is capable of doing it, but you have a couple of us out here that are willing to do it every day."
--The Cardinals didn't address the offensive line in the draft. It's the second consecutive year in which the team has not taken an offensive lineman. Since 2007, it's taken one offensive lineman before the seventh round. Herman Johnson was a fifth-round pick in 2009 and lasted one year with the team.
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. played host to the Super Bowl in 2008, while Tampa Bay had the game the following year. Tampa has been the site of four previous Super Bowls.
The next three Super Bowls are scheduled to be played in Indianapolis, New York/New Jersey and New Orleans.
"We are delighted to receive the terrific news that Arizona is one of two finalists for the 2015 Super Bowl," Arizona Super Bowl Host Committee chairman Mike Kennedy said in a statement. "As I have always said, we are in the Super Bowl business and believe we have the best facilities and most hospitable venue in the country."
It's a reversal for the Arizona committee, which pulled out of the running for the 2014 game, citing the economic downturn.
The two final cities must submit a formal bid in time for the owners' meetings in October.
"We're going to put together a very competitive bid," Paul Catoe, president of Tampa Bay & Company," told the Tampa Tribune. "We look forward to the battle.
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