Alan Faneca knows that Saturday's game was probably his last as a Steeler.
As he said last year, frustrated at the Steelers organization, "This will be my last year as a Pittsburgh Steeler."
After tensions flared during contract negotiations, Faneca was called out by fans and critics as being selfish. Was he? Probably not. One of the best guards in the NFL, perhaps even the best, Faneca has one of the most tremendous work ethics in the NFL, something that would justify him demanding a salary that reflects what he has done for the Steelers.
Contracts aside, there was something else that bothered Faneca. As a supporter of Ken Whisenhunt, Faneca vocally made it clear who he wanted to replace Bill Cowher. When Whisenhunt didn't get the position and instead left for Arizona, Faneca grew more frustrated. There was little doubt in anyone's mind that he would be finished wearing black and gold after his contract expired.
"I think if it (a new contract) was going to happen it would have happened," Faneca said. "The door is never closed, but there is a point where reality sets in."
Faneca has no doubt been contacted by numerous teams already. But the team that sticks out in my mind is Arizona (though there's no certainty they have contacted him). The Cardinals lack a dominant guard like Faneca, someone who could instantly add stability to the offensive line. With Whisenhunt (and former Steelers offensive line coach Russ Grimm) in Arizona, Faneca has incentive to rejoin his former coaches who he both respected and admired.
Keep an eye on the unfoldings this offseason.