Buster Skrine likes to keep busy. The always fly New York Jets defensive stalwart is out of the house and on his way to the office before the crack of dawn each day to put in serious work as the team’s star Cornerback. Starting with a 7 a.m. workout, his mid-season days are packed. There’s a lineup of meetings: a team meeting, a special teams meeting; meetings for the entire defense, and then more meetings specifically for his position. There’s a walk-through of the game-day plays, a team lunch, a full-team practice, and then more meetings and more practices until his day finally wraps around 6 p.m. that evening. This jet-setter goes from all work and no play, to hard work and then play, with the best of them. Hopefully next season he and the team’s hard work has a playoff payoff.
“My friends say that I’m so lucky that I don’t have to work a 9-to-5,” Buster says, “But I really work at least a 7-to-6.” And there’s no way he’s just heading home and hitting the sheets. After wrapping up a long day, Buster’s still out making moves: working on business ideas, going out with teammates, hitting up the mall, and Face-Timing his four-year-old daughter, Grace. He’s an entrepreneur who’s already set his sights on life after the NFL, so even during his busiest season Buster remains occupied with work. His thoughts of new opportunities and the current ventures he’s pursuing seldom cease.
Written by Arionne Nettles
Creative Direction & MUA by Eve Chen
Styled by Justin Xavier
Grooming by Nook
Images by Alejandro Garcia
Shot at Studios LIC in Long Island City, New York
The Atlanta bred player is an all pro, though. A hectic schedule doesn’t phase Buster. He’s been balancing the demands of life as a professional football player since he was drafted from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in 2011. He knows how to make moves and keep progressing, all while living a humble yet high profile life of class and style. In 2015, Buster signed a five-year contract with the Jets after four standout seasons with the Cleveland Browns. His 4.4 speed and signature electric blue Lambo have been staples on the New York City scene ever since.
Whether on or off the field, Buster is all about making smart-but-fast moves. At his core, he’s a businessman whose mind craves being on top of new strategies. He works to be one step ahead, so last year, he interned at The Doman Group, a private money management firm. He first joined the company knowing nothing about stocks and left mastering the language of Wall Street investors and understanding what really makes a winning portfolio.
Buster applies that same go-all-in strategy when it comes to those closest to him. His on field efforts match talent with preparation and experience, and the love he has for his family is even more impressive. His most calculated decisions are for their benefit, locking in long-term wealth plans to ensure his family will always be well taken care of. Whether suiting up on Sundays or providing for the Skrine team, his level of dedication is always unmatched. On a fun Saturday afternoon in Long Island City, Buster took a few minutes between looks to chop it up with DOPE MAG about hard work, game-day essentials, and how little Grace is her Daddy’s baby – and that will never change.
(Arionne Nettles: AN) Congrats on yesterday’s win! Your victory over the 49ers was needed, and you pulled out a hard fought game on the road – all the way across the country in San Francisco. If you had to describe this season so far in one word, what would it be?
(Buster Skrine: Buster) I would say adversity. This year, we had more losses than wins. As a team, we’re going through adversity right now so we’re learning how to overcome the losses, the media, and just sticking together as a team just to build for next year.
(AN) And how important is teamwork and leadership in that process?
(Buster) It’s definitely a team sport. Everybody’s not a natural-born leader. You do have guys that lead by example and you’ve also got a lot of young guys that are looking for someone to lead them.
(AN) Competitiveness and preparation is of course key in football. How has your level of competitiveness changed from when you were playing in high school until now?
(Buster) I feel like I’ve always had the same mindset. I had a different route — I came from a smaller school in Chattanooga — when I got drafted by the NFL. Then, I went to Cleveland, and when I got to the Jets, I wanted to prove that I belonged where I’m at right now. My competitiveness and my hunger for the game never stops for me.
(AN) This is the busiest season of the year for you, so you probably have to get to bed early, right?
(Buster) I mean, it is important to get to bed early, but I’m not gon’ lie: I don’t always (Laughs!).
(AN) So what are you doing when you finally get home and can do whatever you want after meeting all the demands and obligations of the day?
(Buster) I FaceTime my little girl. Then, I like to use the time to brainstorm and think about the stuff I want to do after football. I might step out with some of my teammates and go to a restaurant or something. I’m an outgoing person so I’m always going. I don’t want to just go home and go to sleep. You feel me?
(AN) I do! You mentioned the stuff you want to do after football. What are some of those things? Do you know yet?
(Buster) I own a car dealership, Metro Cars of Atlanta. That’s one thing that I know. A lot of times, I’ll get on my iPad and just check on things. I have a training company that I run now. In the off season, I want to start a nonprofit. I feel like it’s my time to start giving back financially so we’re trying to put together a plan for that.
(AN) I know you mentioned Face-Timing your daughter. How old is she and what is she into right now?
(Buster) Grace Elizabeth is four-years-old, and now, she’s at that age where she’s starting to figure stuff out and you’ve really got to say no or yes without getting an attitude. She’s definitely an active little girl: she likes playing basketball and running on the track with her little legs.
(AN) Does she realize what Daddy does?
(Buster) She knows! Every time she sees someone playing football, she says, “That’s Daddy’s job.” I’m kind of happy when she says that because I don’t want her to think that I’m just gone all day because I’m just gone. She knows that I’m working.
(AN) I know that probably inspires you even more when you’re out there.
(Buster) Yeah, because work is work. I enjoy playing the game, and I enjoy being around my teammates and all of that, but sometimes, you need that extra motivation. When my little girl isn’t here, I pull up a picture of her, or I’ll FaceTime her real quick before she goes to daycare.
(AN) I’m sure she appreciates that. Daddy’s little girl.
(Buster) She’s Daddy’s baby!
(AN) So, aside from talking to Grace, what are your game day necessities? What are your must haves to start your day off right?
(Buster) I FaceTime my girl, if she’s not here, or I’ll be around her. Then, I’ll put on some Bob Marley or something laid back. Then, I’ve got to put on a fly fit.
(AN) Because that’s essential.
(Buster) Yeah, I gotta have it. Then, on the way to the game, I’m busting out all of the Atlanta music, getting crunk, and I turn into a whole new person. I go into the locker room with my headphones on and talk to my teammates making sure everybody’s good, and then, I’m ready for the game.
(AN) What’s playing in your headphones right now?
(Buster) Right now, I’m playing Future, or some Young Thug. I’m still playing that (DJ) Esco mixtape and Thug’s No, My Name is Jeffrey album. Go back to my roots.
(AN) Right! Go back to home. So, in playing professional sports, support from people you care about is really essential. Who in your life have been your biggest supporters?
(Buster) I’d have to say my mama, my little brother Maurice and my girlfriend Dominique.
(AN) So it sounds like you’re close to your family. How do you stay connected with them during the season?
(Buster) I’m not going to lie. My circle is small. I have my family, and a couple of people outside my family, but I make sure that during the off season I tailor my time to the people who I know will always be there. During the season, football takes up so much of my time that I don’t have the time to talk to other people. But I will fly people up here to my games if they reach out.
(AN) I always believed that there’s something special about where we grow up, for sure. What do you think was unique about growing up in Georgia and how did that kind of groom you?
(Buster) When you come from the south, you have a certain swag about yourself. People know I’m not from here, and I get that a lot. Not just by my voice, but how I dress and the way I look. It gives me a certain confidence and I always have that good, southern hospitality.
(AN) Let’s say it’s the end of the season, this particular job is done, and you can go anywhere in the world with anybody for a week. Where would you go and who would be with you?
(Buster) I’m going to the Dominican Republic and I’m taking my little brother.
(AN) Nice! What are y’all gonna do in DR?
(Buster) I’ve never been before… so party.
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