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Kickin Back with Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Jeff Faine

Jeff Faine stays busy off the field, including four restaurant openings, a home for foster kids
when they turn 18 and that elusive (except for Warren Buffett) 10 percent return on investments.

DANIEL WALLACE | Times

Jeff Faine stays busy off the field, including four restaurant openings, a home for foster kids when they turn 18 and that elusive (except for Warren Buffett) 10 percent return on investments.

You're always working on something off the field. So what, if any, new business ventures do you have going on?

Right now, (his company) has — let me see, one, two, three — four new restaurants opening. One opens in December. Another one opened a couple months ago, and the others open in the next five months. We're staying busy and expanding with real estate, too. I've added a couple of multifamily (residences) in St. Pete and a couple of offices in downtown Tampa. I just continue to stay busy. And another thing that's consuming a lot of my time are the charity efforts I'm working on, the Faine House.

What's that all about?

The Faine House is a transition home for foster kids so when they turn 18, they can have a place to stay. I'm working with a general contractor who also adopts foster kids. Him and his wife have had 17 over the years. They have a 9-year-old right now, and she'd been in 72 foster homes before she got to them. So to have that stability when you're 18 and beginning to get into adulthood is huge. It'll be open in April, and we're very excited about it. I'm starting it in my hometown, Orlando, but I'd like to be able to have one here, too.

Sounds like a lot of work.

It is. And when I first got involved, I had no idea how much work it would be. But it's going to be so rewarding once we get it all done and we start impacting people's lives.

So I'm wondering: Are you tougher on the football field or in business deals?

I think I'm starting to transition into a tougher businessman. When you've been burned on things and things happen, you get a little more callous. On the football field, I'm on the back nine (of my career), and I'm really enjoying it. It's not work to me. I remember when I was a younger guy and I used to get into fights in practice all the time; even when I first came here (to the Bucs). The later in my career I get, the more I realize how unnecessary that is. I think I'm transitioning to getting tougher off the field, but trust me, that tenacity (on the field) is still there.

As a businessman, who's more impressive to you: Steve Jobs, an innovator, or Warren Buffett, an investor with a great eye?

I'm a very, very huge fan of Warren Buffett. For him to be able to do it as long as he has is beyond impressive. In a way, it's a little bit of an art for him to be as consistent as he has been. And this is something I have a tough time explaining to guys in the locker room: A 10 to 12 percent return is amazing. Everybody in the league gets money so fast. You play a game, the next week you get a check. You go through college, get drafted and you get a big signing bonus. But you don't ever experience putting $100 away and (understanding) that making $10 over a year on that is a big deal.

So you're saying the money comes so easy it's hard to appreciate it?

Yes. Warren Buffett, over the last 60 years, I believe, is hovering right around 12 percent. That's amazing. You know, I started off with a lot of flashy cars and clothes and big houses, but part of what appeals to me about Warren Buffett is the simplicity of his life. He's lived in the same house for the last 40 years. He drives used cars. He genuinely appeals to me. But I'm also on the other end of the spectrum. I'm a huge Steve Jobs fan (clutching his iPhone as he talks). There are so many things we take for granted because of him. I remember when I had a huge case of cassette tapes and then CDs. This guy came along and put it all on a tiny little box (the iPod). He's an innovator, and he made everybody else work hard. Think of Google and (the makers) of the Smartphone. They all had to change.

Weekly questions here: What's playing the most on your iPod these days?

Probably the Jay-Z and Kanye West album, Watch the Throne. But I have a very wide pallet for music. I love Mumford and Sons all the way to Miles Davis and (John) Coltrane. I'm all over the place. I can appreciate just good music and good art. It doesn't matter what genre it is. If you can feel the passion and work that went into it, I'll check it out.

What website do you think you visit the most?

Probably Yahoo.com. I like how you can see all the biggest stories in the world. And Bloomberg.com.

What reality show do you watch regularly?

I like the reality show with Rus­sell Simmons, Running Russell. I like that because I really admire him and his business (savvy).

You like to travel. So what's the most memorable place you've been?

My favorite place, by far, to travel to is Laguna Beach, Calif. I love Chicago and New York. But I have a 20-year plan. When I'm 50, I plan to be living on the beach in Laguna Beach for four months a year. That would be perfect.

. Biography

Jeff Faine

Position: CenterAge: 30

Height/weight: 6-3; 291Hometown: Sanford

College: Notre Dame; three-year starter; finalist for the Rimington Award (nation's top center) and semifinalist for the Lombardi Award (nation's best offensive lineman) as a senior.

Pro: First-round pick (21st overall) by the Browns in 2003; has started all 110 games in which he has played; also played for the Saints (2006-07) before joining the Bucs as a free agent in 2008.

Kickin Back with Tampa Bay Buccaneers center Jeff Faine 11/18/11 [Last modified: Saturday, November 19, 2011 4:05pm]
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