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Faneca hangs up his cleats

Nine-time Pro Bowl guard Alan Faneca, who played for the Jets from 2008-09, has retired from the NFL. Faneca, who played last season for the Cardinals after being released by the Jets, made the announcement today. 

"Playing in the NFL has been a childhood dream come true," Faneca said in a statement. "Thirteen years later, I have decided that it is time to move on." 

Faneca, 34, enjoyed his best years with the Steelers, where he won a Super Bowl and played at a level that will see him be a strong contender for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He signed a whopping five-year, $40 million contract with the Jets in 2008, and played two seasons before being released in a cost-cutting move last year. He was voted to the Pro Bowl in both seasons with the Jets. 

"Each and every teammate, coach and front office employee has made a lasting impact on my life," Faneca said. "It was a pleasure playing for first class organizations who surrounded me with incredibly dedicated individuals."

Faneca was the Steelers' first-round pick out of LSU in 1998. He played in 206 games, including a string of 144 straight, which was the longest active streak for a guard and third-longest for any offensive lineman, behind Kansas City center Casey Weigmann (158) and Detroit tackle Jeff Backus (159).

Faneca said in a SIRIUS XM radio interview today that he never wanted to leave the Steelers. 

"It hurt to leave, I'll say that much," he told Adam Schein. "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."

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