The latest development/devastation to Cincinnati’s offensive line is the undisclosed ankle injury incumbent center, Kyle Cook, and the late gain of veteran center Jeff Faine. Adding to the Bengals theme this year of acquiring former first round draft picks, Faine was selected 21st overall in 2003 by the Cleveland Browns. After spending his rookie contract there and a brief two season stint with New Orleans where The Bleacher Report called him one of the eight most underrated Saints in franchise history, Faine was brought over to Tampa Bay by then Head Coach John Gruden. Once touted as the anchor to the Buccaneers’ offensive line, that identity came into question after public comments arose during the 2011 Lock-Out about Faine not attending player-run practices organized by quarterback Josh Freeman.
Though articulate and professional throughout, many felt this was a conflict of his role as team captain and NFLPA representative, and it was widely speculated that there was a growing rift in the locker room between him and other members of the offense. Resultantly, Faine was not selected as a team captain for his last season with Tampa Bay, saw significantly decreased playing time and was eventually released as the younger and more talented Jeremy Zuttah arose to become paired with new acquired Pro-Bowl guard Carl Nicks.
Besides his experience, his leadership, and his familiarity with Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden’s Offense, Faine brings another refreshing element to the Bengals: character. In addition to being a Pro Football player, restaurant owner, bar owner and fashionista, Faine also works extensively with his charities for orphans and routinely raised money for youth cancer research. Moreover, when released from the Buccaneers in a move that cost him $5 Million, he had this to say,
I can understand the decision. They made an investment with Carl Nicks – looking into the future and trying to build youth – and I think it was the right decision. I’m going to be playing for two or three more years, and they’re looking to build something to last… I had a fantastic time. I have nothing but good things to say about this organization and the way the do business. I can’t be bitter. I still have years to play and hopefully win games wherever I go.