You can't ignore the tattoos when first meeting you. But they're not random, are they?
No. The left arm is a story all from one book. It's called The Book of Five Rings. I grew up in Hawaii, and there's a lot of Asian influence there. I really got into kung-fu movies and samurai movies. My dad gave me the book, and it's about ancient Japanese samurai and how they lived their lives, always striving for perfection. And that ties in with one of my high school coaches who passed away. There was a phrase he always wanted me to live by: "Relentlessly chase perfection and success will come." That's why I have the koi (fish) and the dragon. The dragon is a sign of a warrior, and the koi is fabled to be the most fearless animal in the culture. It will stare into fishermen's eyes until its head is cut off.
All this took a long time, I suppose.
Yeah. The left arm I had done one summer. It took about 75 hours in 14 sittings. It was a long summer. And on my right arm, I have a continuation from the left with the white tiger. It was said that the white tiger was a creature that kind of haunted the samurai's dreams. It was like their kryptonite. The other part of the arm is dedicated to demons. It kind of reminds me of how I started my career. It's well-known that I didn't start off on the right foot in Cleveland and I had a lot of demons. That's when I forced a trade to get out and went to New Orleans. It's to remind me that I can overcome anything.
New weekly question this season: What's on your iPod?
I know everyone says they have a lot of different stuff. But I'm telling you, I really have everything. The only thing I'm really not into is country. But I'm into a little bit of everything. A CD I'm really listening to hard right now is Seeing Sounds by N.E.R.D. I just love their front man Pharrell's style. I love Lil' Wayne and the new Coldplay album is in there, too. But I have everything. So, what would be some examples of opposite ends of the spectrum?
The extremes would be everything from Frank Sinatra to Coltrane. I'm really into jazz. But it goes all the way to Metallica. Growing up I was really into rap, which my brother turned me on to. But he also turned me on to Al Green, which I think opened the door into jazz and things like that.
Another weekly question: What Web site do you visit the most?
YouTube.com. I can sit on there for hours. I love watching viral videos from successful people. (Rapper/producer) Diddy is a guy who likes to put them out there a lot. I love watching Pharrell's, (hip hop mogul) Russell Simmons, too. I like to see how they live their lives and what they're into.
I understand you're into art pretty heavily.
Yes. It's something I really got into in college. I was a film major, so that was all kind of in the same world. But I couldn't afford any art. But once I got into the league and started making a little money, it was something I really got into. And once I got to New Orleans, it really took off. It was amazing down there. When I first got there, a lot of the local artists weren't back yet after Katrina. But they were starting to come back, and that was something I always wanted to do: support them. They were doing their part by coming back. That's what they could give. So, buying their art was kind of a way to give back and support them. When I go back to New Orleans, I can go the French Quarter and go down to Magazine Street and Gallery Row and spend hours there. I just get lost. It's something I've done many times.
Your home is something of an art gallery, right?
I started using art instead of paint on my walls at home. I just keep things really basic and liven it up with art. Between my two houses, I probably have 70 pieces of art around. I have this one piece that's by an artist named Stephen Kasner that's 8 feet by 9 feet. I have some massive pieces. A lot of people probably wouldn't even think that of me until they come to my house and see all the art.
You seem like the perfect guy to answer this question: What's the most annoying stereotype of athletes?
One of the ones that bothers me is when people automatically think you can't hold a conversation. It's something that really bothers me when people think you're a football player so you're ignorant. I've sometimes called people out on it because that one bugs me the most.
When Bucs center Jeff Faine isn't pancaking defensive tackles, he can probably be found strolling through an art gallery or dialing up Coltrane on his iPod. He's as unpredictable as they come, which he showed during a recent conversation.