Blue and Gold Illustrated

January 2014 Issue

Blue & Gold Illustrated: America's Foremost Authority on Notre Dame Football

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where have you gone? Jeff Faine, 1999-2002 Center Business success makes leaving football an easy transition for the NFL veteran By Dan Murphy J eff Faine walked off the Alltel Stadium Field on New Year's Day in 2003 with tears in his eyes. The toughguy, 300-pound center known for blocking his opponent through the echo of the whistle, and then maybe just a shove longer, wasn't upset about the final seconds of a 28-6 loss to North Carolina State in the Gator Bowl. But he knew then that his Notre Dame career had come to an end. The option for a fifth season with the Irish the following fall remained on the table. He had yet to make a definitive decision going into the game. Faine said most of him ached to return for a final season, but as the game came to an end he knew his head wouldn't allow it. "I made the decision with my mind and not with the rest of body, heart and soul," he said. "There's no doubt the rest was still at Notre Dame. And to this day I think about it." Faine went with his head, as he often has, and once again it steered him in the right direction. A clear head led Faine to the center position and to Notre Dame. It led him to the first round of the NFL Draft in 2003, and five years later to the biggest contract ever signed by a player at his posi- Faine started his sophomore season for the Irish and anchored the offensive line for the next three years. file photo tion at the time. And now it's leading him now into a successful post-football business career that's making the NFL seem more like a stepping-stone than a capstone. With the help of business partner Bobby George, Faine opened his first restaurant — the Barley House in Akron, Ohio — in 2006 while playing for the Cleveland Browns. A torn biceps during that season and the ensuing rehab gave him time to soak in a crash course in the hospitality business. Faine, a film major while at school, said he devoured industry magazines and any other advice he could find to learn more about the new field. One restaurant became two or three in Ohio, which opened doors to a whole new series of investments. When his football career came to an end in 2012, Faine held a stake in 17 restaurants or bars in Ohio and Florida, his home state, as well as several

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