At one point, center Jason Brown was the highest paid of his position in the NFL.
In 2009 he signed a $37.5 million dollar contract spanning five years with the St. Louis Rams.
He played a good nine seasons before getting cut by the Rams at the age of 29, but instead of taking up some of the offers from other NFL teams that he was getting, he decided to completely walk away from the sport and become a farmer. (Much to his agents chagrin.)
He now runs a 1,000 acre farm in Louisburg North Carolina where he grows crops and gives food away to the less fortunate. This isn’t the case of a man returning to his green thumb roots either, Brown actually taught himself how to grow crops by watching videos on YouTube.
He simply had a dream that he followed and it came to fruition beautifully. Brown’s plan includes donating his crops to food pantries to feed people out of his own good faith and as of November has donated over 100,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and 10,000 pounds of cucumbers.
When he was starting out he had a little help from some local farmers. The potato plants grow from mature potatoes to make new ones, so some locals helped him by giving him slips as they are called once they found out that he was planning to donate the whole lot.
On harvesting sweet potatoes at his brainchild First Fruits Farm he said:
“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see.”
As massive as his contribution has been already, he isn’t done yet. He hopes to double the size of his sweet potato acreage by next year.
“I can envision things. I look out over this farm and see such a blessing. This has been more than I could have ever imagined. I have been blessed more than I have blessed others.”
It’s a truly inspirational story for any time of year, but particularly at a time when food and comfort play such a strong role in the season.
“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life,’ ” Brown said. “And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No, I’m not. No, I’m not.’ ”