In 2012, the NFL star Jason Brown walked away from the football field to tackle a new kind of field — one that’s full of sweet potatoes.
When Brown signed a five-year, $37 million contract with the St. Louis Rams in 2009, he was one of the best centers in the NFL. But just three years later, the Rams released him from his contract unexpectedly.
Instead of clinging to a career in football and desperately trying to sign elsewhere, Brown took it as an opportunity to pursue a new passion: farming. Since then, he’s never looked back.
“When I think about a life of greatness, I think about a life of service,” he recently told CBS News.
The only issue was that he had never farmed a day in his life. So he enlisted the help of farming tutorials on YouTube, and the farmers that neighbor his thousand-acre property in Louisberg, North Carolina.
Brown recalls the time he informed his agent of his decision: “He told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life.’ And I looked right back at him and said, ‘No, I am not. No, I am not.'” It was clear Brown had decided that football just wasn’t worth it.
The plan for his farm, which he calls “First Fruits Farm,” is to donate the first fruits of every harvest to local food pantries — which was all five-acres, or 100,000 pounds, of sweet potatoes, when CBS News caught up with him a couple of weeks ago.
“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing that you could ever see,” he said.
Contrary to his former agent’s prediction, Brown has never regretted his decision. In fact, he said he’s never felt more successful in his life.
We admire the tenacity with which Brown followed his heart. He is winning a whole different kind of game now — one that fulfills him directly and impacts those who suffer from hunger.
By: Emi Boscamp