Alan Faneca has a two-step plan to begin the first month of every offseason — "Rest, recuperate." But the month is up and the old redhead (with apologies to Red Barber and to Alan) is back at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center ramping it back up for his 13th NFL season and his third with the Green & White.
And that means not only getting back into football shape but also gearing up efforts for a cause that’s very important for him.
In fact, "Block Out Epilepsy" is the name of the special event Faneca is organizing to benefit Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Memorial Hospital and Goryeb Children’s Center at Overlook Hospital. He dropped by the studio to talk with my partner Eric Allen for a special segment of Jets TV that will be on the site soon.
"I have epilepsy and my younger daughter, Anabelle, has epilepsy," Faneca said. "We started talking to Goryeb Children’s Hospital and got involved with their epilepsy department about things we could do to help out."
One of the specific projects the Jets’ perennial Pro Bowl guard has in mind is the purchase of new video EEG equipment for the center, which will help make the testing of kids who’ve had seizures — sometimes lasting up to 72 hours in the hospital — less stressful for them and their parents, plus more funding for technicians to operate the new equipment.
That’s where Faneca’s fundraiser comes in. The event, which will also be attended by QB Mark Sanchez, center Nick Mangold and other Jets players, will be held April 10 at the Hanover (N.J.) Marriott on Route 10 East.
The four-hour event will have food stations, open bar and silent and live auctions, and a football for autographing will be included in the $250 ticket price. All proceeds benefit the Pediatric Epilepsy Center at Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Memorial Hospital and Goryeb Children’s Center at Overlook Hospital.
"It’s been a long journey, but one that I’m proud to talk about," said Faneca, who first discovered he had epilepsy at the age of 14 and controls his condition through medication. "There’s a stigma that comes with epilepsy, but I want to talk about it and let other people know about it, that this guy who plays football can run around and literally hit people with his head, that it’s OK, they can do things, and people shouldn’t be worried about people who have epilepsy."
For more information on "Block Out Epilepsy" or to purchase tickets, call 800-247-9580 by April 6.
As for Faneca and Football …
EA didn’t let Alan get away without chewing the fat about football, the Jets and the superlative offensive line that Faneca is preparing to help anchor for the third year. Right now the line is coping with the departure of RB Thomas Jones.
"It’s tough. Thomas is a great guy, a great competitor, a great teammate, great anything and everything you’d want to say about him," Faneca said. "To think he’s not going to be here is hard right now and he’ll be missed. You never say never and hopefully there’s a way to get him back here. But you wish him the best and he’s definitely going to be missed."
Faneca had some other thoughts on Jones and on now-second-year back Shonn Greene, whom Faneca said "got to go out there and show his skill level" as a rookie. "Now let’s do it on a weekly basis. I think he can do it."
But the great part for Faneca is being a part of an O-line that began to be recognized as one of the best, if not the best, in the game today.
"I think we’ve shown what we can do. We’ve put in the work to get there," he said. "By no means do we need to sit back and start honkin’ our horns. I don’t think that’s the group we are."
Tags: Alan Faneca, Thomas Jones
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