Most Pittsburgh Steelers fans probably remember Alan Faneca as an offensive-line anchor during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
The 1998 first-round draft pick made nine Pro Bowls and six all-NFL teams as perhaps the dominant left guard of his era. Following a decade in Pittsburgh, Faneca departed in 2008 to sign with the Jets, where he played two seasons before moving on to the Cardinals.
Faneca retired after a year in Arizona, but he’s clearly had no trouble finding a new passion since.
The 37-year-old Louisiana native, who has taken up distance running to aid in his remarkable post-football weight loss, completed last weekend’s New Orleans Marathon in 3 hours, 56 minutes, says Runners World.
For those unfamiliar with the marathon, that’s a nine-minute mile pace for a guy who once weighed more than 300 pounds. Faneca has reportedly dropped more than 100 pounds since his playing days, but completing 26.2 miles in under four hours is considered quite good for novices of any size, even if they are accomplished in other athletic disciplines.
Yahoo! Sports’ Shutdown Corner blog has some photos of Faneca in action, and his sinewy appearance these days is strikingly different from his paunchy look while wearing black and gold. Faneca proves that the unhealthy regimen that produces bodies suited for the line of scrimmage can be reversed after retirement. (See more on Faneca’s Twitter account.)
It’s easy for a former lineman to keep eating like he did when he needed bulk, but Faneca’s discipline can be an inspiration for players struggling to adjust to life after the NFL.
As he demonstrated, it’s a matter of adaptation.