Stalled negotiations

Alan Faneca showed up for the Steelers' mandatory minicamp but he isn't happy with the offer the team has made on his new contract. He's said he'll be gone by this time next year.

ALAN FANECA, guard, Pittsburgh Steelers

Q: What have you been doing with your time?

A: Working out, enjoying my family down in Louisiana.

Q: What made you come back for this minicamp?

A: They're making me. It's pretty much a must nowadays with the new CBA and what they can go after that you pretty much got to show.

Q: Are you here under duress? Don't you want to be here?

A: No, I don't want to be here. It's a matter of them being able to do what they can monetarily and come after me. That's the only reason I'm here, on that chance that they would.

Q: Are you unhappy at the progress or pace of the talks?

A: Progress is a strong word there. There is no progress. They've been crystal clear in the fact they're not going to sign me this year and that's it. It's been made crystal. It's not getting done. Nothing's happening. It's been a dead issue for a long time.

Q: Will you go home Monday and then just come back for training camp? Is that your plan?

A: I got a flight Sunday night.

Q: And then you'll be back for training camp?

A: Yeah, whenever that is.

Q: Are they being crystal clear through inactivity or through discussion?

A: Through their offer, through not willing to talk about how bad the offer is, to come up to terms with paying me what my market value is.

Q: How long have you had that realization?

A: I've had that since the end of February.

Q: How difficult is this for you to accept after what you've contributed?

A: It's tough. It's tough. You go somewhere for nine years (and) to do what I've done to help this team out, the things I've done for this team, and to be told two years ago, ‘We'll talk when the year's up; that's how we do things,' and I play by the rules, I do that, and the offer I get is pretty much a non-offer, what am I to think? What are the guys in this room to think? If they can do it to me and everybody else and let Joey (Porter) go and do things like that, then what does that say to the rest of team?

Q: Will you become a free agent?

A: This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler.

Q: Did you ask them to trad you?

A: I did ask. I've been asking since February to trade me, to let me go. I've done my piece, I've done my time, I've done everything I can for this organization. I've lived and breathed Steeler football for nine years and gave them everything I had and helped them win a Super Bowl. In my mind, I've earned the right to be treated fairly. And to make me go out there this year and play football with no security, just to go out there and play football, for what I've done for this organization, in my mind, it's not right. But that's my mind.

Q: Is there zero chance of reconciliation?

A: There's nothing to reconcile. It's a dead issue.

Q: How do you go through these next months?

A: It's tough. I don't have an answer for that.

Q: Would you be playing left tackle at all this season if need be?

A: (Laughs) Uh, that's a discussion we'll get to when we get there.

Q: Is there anything that can be done to change your feelings?

A: It's not on my end, that's the thing. It's in their hands, the guys upstairs, it's their decision. I understand this. I understand that this is a business. I understand that things happen. I mean I like that, but I understand that. And I understand that paying me what my market value is not in your budget, in your time, in your desire for where this team is going to go. I understand that. I just wanted to be treated fairly. What's going on right now is not copasetic.

Q: Did they say they were trying to trade you?

A: No, they weren't too receptive to that. That's their prerogative.

Q: What's your impression of the new coach and does that have anything to do with this at all?

A: I've had two conversations with Mike: one before the draft and one after he got hired. That's pretty much it. I've been out there for a day. I've got no impression.

Q: You expressed unhappiness that they didn't hire Russ Grimm. Does that play into this at all?

A: I can't say that that doesn't bother me, but people make decisions and you have to live with them every day. Right now it's about me personally and about being able to do my profession at what's fair.

Q: Did you request a specific team or did you just ask to be traded in general?

A: It didn't matter. I just wanted out. I didn't care where I went.

Q: It's four months till the opener and they could still blow your socks off. Have you made up your mind that you wouldn't accept it if they do?

A: They're not going to blow my socks off. Like I said, man, they've made it crystal clear that they have no intentions of signing me this year and that's their decision upstairs.

Q: Why do you think they're hesitant to do that?

A: I can't make that decision for them. They made it and that's a decision I have to live with. I don't know what their reasoning is.

Q: What message does that send to the other players?

A: I don't know. I do things right. I go out there, I play hard and give it everything I have. I think guys in the locker room see that, and to be treated like this, I think it sends a message, a quiet but strong message.

Q: What was your reaction to the market jump for guards in free agency this year?

A: We finally started getting a little bit of respect I guess. That and the jump in the salary cap with the new deal, it's just kind of expected for all the positions to go up.

Q: Did that make you say, ‘Dammit, I want that'?

A: Yeah. I would like to be in the top 10 guards, pay-wise. I'm not now and their offer didn't even put me in the top 10.

Q: So, if you felt you were being dealt with in the right way you'd be more receptive?

A: I guess so. In my mind it's a non-offer. It's an offer to say they made an offer and that it's on the table so they can tell you guys that they made an offer. Then y'all are going to run up there and they're going to tell you their story. I'm telling you straight.

Q: Is this a tenable situation for the next year?

A: I don't know, man. I've got to find a way to deal with this and still stay focused on football and going out there and doing what I do.

Q: Is holding out the season an option?

A: It hasn't crossed my mind, no.

Q: Would you still want to be a captain of this team?

A: It'd be hard. It'd really be hard to be a leader on a team that I'm gone is a foregone conclusion. There are lots of other guys in this locker room. If I'm not going to be here; maybe they need to start stepping up.

Q: Alan, would what you're saying now be a strategy to force their hand to move you now?

A: I'm saying the truth is all I'm telling you – no strategy, no nothing. I'm telling you how I feel, the situation at hand, and what's been going on. That's all I'm telling you.

Q: Do they know how you feel?

A: Yeah, they know. I've told them and they're content with living with it, as far as I know.

Q: Who'd you tell?

A: I talked to everybody upstairs.

Q: Did it get combative at all?

A: I was trying to drive my point home. It definitely was not a light conversation.

Q: What were their arguments? Too old? Play falling off? Anything like that?

A: No. There were no arguments. It was: ‘We love you. You're great.' Nothing but positives (were) coming out their mouths and I understand that and I appreciate that. I thank you for it. I'm glad you like me and I'm glad you're appreciative of how I play and you know how well I play. I appreciate that. And at the same time, as I told them, you can like somebody to death but if you can't pay them or he's not in your plans … every day teams let go of guys they like and guys they wish they could hold onto. It's just a part of the business.

Q: Could you see a trade before this year?

A: I don't know what's going on anymore. All I'm doing is focused on playing football, man. If anything happens or whatnot, than it does.

Q: Can you give your best on the field?

A: I am. I'm working on it. That's what I do every day when I workout and train and get ready. I'm going out there to play lights out and that's it.

Q: Physically, are you where you were last year at this time?

A: I'm probably a little bit ahead. I started working out a lot sooner this year.

Q: Are you letting the beard grow to make a statement?

A: No, I just let it grow. My wife and daughter were away for a week and I didn't shave so I just kind of let it go.


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