By Adam Porcelli
April 26, 2003
Notre Dame, Ind. – The Cleveland Browns selected former Notre Dame center Jeff Faine in the first round of the 2003 National Football League draft on Saturday. Faine was the 21st overall selection in the draft and became the first Irish player picked in the first round since offensive tackle Luke Petitgout was drafted in the first round (19th selection overall) by the New York Giants in 1999.
The 6′ 3″, 298-pound Faine earned 2002 first-team All-America honors from The Sporting News and ESPN.com, becoming Notre Dame’s first All-America center since Tim Ruddy in 1993. Faine also earned the Nick Pietrosante Award, which is given to the Irish player who best exemplifies courage, loyalty, teamwork, dedication and pride as voted by his teammates. Faine started in all 35 games he played in as a member of the Notre Dame football team, leading the ’01 and ’02 Irish squads in playing minutes with 314:17 and 330:52, respectively. The center plays with great focus, intensity and a love for the game. He is a gifted offensive lineman with a combination of speed and strength. Faine will graduate in May with a degree in film, television and theatre from the College of Arts and Letters.
The following are some of Faine’s thoughts after his selection today.
Faine on being selected by the Cleveland Browns:
“Earlier through a conversation I thought there was some interest in with the Browns, but I really didn’t know exactly what would happen. I’m real excited to get started and get out there. It’s been a real anxious time and I’m just relieved.”
Faine on going to the city of Cleveland:
“I know (Cleveland) is a great football town and the fans are passionate about the team. I know there’s a lot of tradition there, too. To be quite honest I’m not extremely verse in the Browns tradition, but I’m looking forward to getting to know all about it.”
Faine on the importance of the center position in the NFL:
“I think a center can make a huge difference. The strength of your football team runs down the center. You’ve got the quarterback, a running back and a center on offense and a nose tackle, middle linebacker and a safety back there on defense. I think that’s the core of your team. Of course the left tackles and right tackles have to be valued, but I think the center position is definitely important to the core of your offensive line.”