Former Hawaii football player Vince Manuwai has found the key to a lockout.
"Be smart with your money," said Manuwai, a left guard for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Manuwai said he prepared not only for the current NFL lockout, but for a life after football.
Manuwai conceded it is easier for an experienced player.
He's entering the final season of a five-year contract extension he signed on Dec. 24, 2006. The back-loaded deal is worth up to $20 million. He is scheduled to earn a base salary of $2.9 million this coming season, although that amount could be adjusted depending on the outcome of the next collective bargaining agreement.
"The only thing I have to manage is my bills," Manuwai said.
He has paid off his car. He owns a house in Jacksonville, where he lives with his wife and six children, and has an "affordable" mortgage on a recently built house in Kaneohe.
He also is part-owner of Big Kahunas restaurants in Waikiki and Fort Lauderdale. He said he turned down "get-rich-quick" investment offers.
"I'm on the safe side," said Manuwai, who said he would like to play at least three more seasons after his current contract expires. "I don't want to work for 11 years in football, then lose all of my money. I don't want to chase the quick buck. No way. I want to save my money."
With negotiation problems looming, the players were instructed last October to begin saving their NFL checks. Thirty-one NFL teams pay players only during the season; the Tennessee Titans prorate the pay period over 10 months.
"It's hard for the younger players," Manuwai said. "Taxes take a lot of money. You make most of your money on the second contract."
Manuwai said he keeps fit working out regularly. But he said the lockout will have an adverse impact. Usually at this time, teams already would have conducted at least two minicamps.
"This is a weird feeling," Manuwai said. "This is the ninth year of training in Jacksonville, and all of a sudden it stopped. We're behind the eight ball. It's not only physical, it's mental. I know the system, but as far as team chemistry, that's a big part of the offseason."
Manuwai said he has spent time volunteering. He has agreed to coach during UH's series of football camps this month.
The Big Man's Camp for offensive and defensive linemen begins Friday on the Manoa campus.
"I'm always willing to help," Manuwai said.