Call him Red ... hot

Alan Faneca isn't happy and he let everyone know about it yesterday at the first day of the Steelers' mandatory minicamp. Read below for his comments and Coach Mike Tomlin's reaction.

PITTSBURGH – The organization that once asked the question "Franco who?", and whose president once fired his own brother, was pushed into a corner by Alan Faneca yesterday.

"This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler," Faneca told reporters during a stunning interview session concerning the progress of his contract renegotiations.

"Progress is a strong word there," Faneca said. "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."

Faneca will enter this season at the age of 30 as a six-time Pro Bowl guard. He reported to minicamp and practiced yesterday only because "with the new CBA and what they can go after you pretty much got to show."

He plans to finish minicamp but skip the rest of the offseason training sessions, which are voluntary, and report to training camp and play this season, the last on a contract he signed in 2002.

Faneca will make $4.375 million this season, but is looking to renegotiate and make fair-market value. That market skyrocketed in March when guards Eric Stenbach, Kris Dielman and Derrick Dockery signed new contracts that average 6.7 years for $45.8 million with $17.3 million in guaranteed money.

While all three are 27 or younger, none has played in a Pro Bowl. Faneca said those contracts have factored into his thinking.

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

He called the Steelers' offer "a non-offer" and said he told "everybody upstairs" about his feelings

"It's in their hands, the guys upstairs, it's their decision," he said. "I understand this. I understand that this is a business. I understand that things happen. And I understand that paying me 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."

Faneca admitted he was unhappy about the hiring of Mike Tomlin over Russ Grimm, but that it's not the reason he asked to be traded prior to the draft. He said it's all about respect.

"I do things right. I go out there, I play hard and give it everything I have," Faneca said. "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."

However, if the organization should give in to Faneca's demands, it would send a similarly strong message about how to negotiate with the Steelers.

Members of the front office declined comment, but Tomlin was asked if Faneca's statements might undermine his efforts to establish his authority as a new coach.

"If you're defensive," Tomlin said. "Negotiations and the CBA and the things we're going through right now with him are probably like (what) other teams in other cities are going through. It's an emotional thing for him, and rightly so. It's his livelihood, that's what he does. But from the organization's standpoint, we're going through the negotiation process and we're not talking about it a great deal publicly because that's our policy. Along the line he's going to express some frustration, but as long as he does what he's supposed to do professionally, which is come to work for mandatory minicamps and play football at a high level like he did today, then we move forward. If you get defensive, then it's a problem."

Tomlin called the situation "worrisome, but at the same time, everything I've heard about him is that he's a professional, he loves to play the game. Usually you worry very little about those guys. When it's time to play football, they play football. Whether or not you get leadership from him, that's another thing. You have to be careful sometimes what you ask of people from a leadership standpoint. What's required is that he play well and plays up to his ability."

Tomlin has seen it before. He watched Warren Sapp reluctantly leave Tampa Bay after winning a Super Bowl, and he's coached defensive backs who were underpaid and unhappy about it.

"Not to make light of the situation, but it's all a re-run," Tomlin said. "If you stay in the league long enough you'll run across it, particularly on teams that have great players and have experienced team success. It comes with it. It's part of the things that create distractions, it's part of the thing you've got to fight, part of the things you've got to do to sustain greatness as an organization. It's part of the territory in today's NFL."


Steel City Insider Top Stories

\r\n\r\n\r\nPITTSBURGH – The organization that once asked the question \"Franco who?\", and whose president once fired his own brother, was pushed into a corner by Alan Faneca yesterday. \r\n\r\n

\"This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler,\" Faneca told reporters during a stunning interview session concerning the progress of his contract renegotiations. \r\n\r\n

\"Progress is a strong word there,\" Faneca said. \"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.\" \r\n\r\n

Faneca will enter this season at the age of 30 as a six-time Pro Bowl guard. He reported to minicamp and practiced yesterday only because \"with the new CBA and what they can go after you pretty much got to show.\" \r\n\r\n

He plans to finish minicamp but skip the rest of the offseason training sessions, which are voluntary, and report to training camp and play this season, the last on a contract he signed in 2002. \r\n\r\n

Faneca will make $4.375 million this season, but is looking to renegotiate and make fair-market value. That market skyrocketed in March when guards Eric Stenbach, Kris Dielman and Derrick Dockery signed new contracts that average 6.7 years for $45.8 million with $17.3 million in guaranteed money. \r\n\r\n

While all three are 27 or younger, none has played in a Pro Bowl. Faneca said those contracts have factored into his thinking. \r\n\r\n

\"Yeah. I would like to be in the top 10 guards, pay-wise,\" he said. \"I'm not now and their offer didn't even put me in the top 10.\" \r\n\r\n

He called the Steelers' offer \"a non-offer\" and said he told \"everybody upstairs\" about his feelings \r\n\r\n

\"It's in their hands, the guys upstairs, it's their decision,\" he said. \"I understand this. I understand that this is a business. I understand that things happen. And I understand that paying me 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.\" \r\n\r\n

Faneca admitted he was unhappy about the hiring of Mike Tomlin over Russ Grimm, but that it's not the reason he asked to be traded prior to the draft. He said it's all about respect. \r\n\r\n

\"I do things right. I go out there, I play hard and give it everything I have,\" Faneca said. \"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.\" \r\n\r\n

However, if the organization should give in to Faneca's demands, it would send a similarly strong message about how to negotiate with the Steelers. \r\n\r\n

Members of the front office declined comment, but Tomlin was asked if Faneca's statements might undermine his efforts to establish his authority as a new coach. \r\n\r\n

\"If you're defensive,\" Tomlin said. \"Negotiations and the CBA and the things we're going through right now with him are probably like (what) other teams in other cities are going through. It's an emotional thing for him, and rightly so. It's his livelihood, that's what he does. But from the organization's standpoint, we're going through the negotiation process and we're not talking about it a great deal publicly because that's our policy. Along the line he's going to express some frustration, but as long as he does what he's supposed to do professionally, which is come to work for mandatory minicamps and play football at a high level like he did today, then we move forward. If you get defensive, then it's a problem.\" \r\n\r\n

Tomlin called the situation \"worrisome, but at the same time, everything I've heard about him is that he's a professional, he loves to play the game. Usually you worry very little about those guys. When it's time to play football, they play football. Whether or not you get leadership from him, that's another thing. You have to be careful sometimes what you ask of people from a leadership standpoint. What's required is that he play well and plays up to his ability.\" \r\n\r\n

Tomlin has seen it before. He watched Warren Sapp reluctantly leave Tampa Bay after winning a Super Bowl, and he's coached defensive backs who were underpaid and unhappy about it. \r\n\r\n

\"Not to make light of the situation, but it's all a re-run,\" Tomlin said. \"If you stay in the league long enough you'll run across it, particularly on teams that have great players and have experienced team success. It comes with it. It's part of the things that create distractions, it's part of the thing you've got to fight, part of the things you've got to do to sustain greatness as an organization. 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