Former NFL star gives up football for potato farming and charity work


The current NFL season began with a torrent of bad news. From domestic abuse to child abuse, from parole violations to underwear theft, the league has it all when it comes to crimes and misdemeanors.

The Devon Still story managed to wash away some of that bad taste, though. And now, from rural Louisburg, North Carolina, comes another football story to make you feel good about the world.

Jason Brown was, at the peak of his career, the highest-paid center in NFL history. He had a $37.5 million dollar contract with the St. Louis Rams, $20 million of which was guaranteed. And that five-year contract, which Brown signed in 2009, would have paid him through the current season.

In 2012, though, Brown gave up football–and the balance of his contract, valued at around $12.5 million.

He did this, it has since emerged, to become a farmer back home in Louisburg.



No, really. Jason Brown, considered the best offensive lineman in free agency when the Rams signed him, gave up a dream job and millions of dollars to become a sweet potato farmer in a town with barely more than three thousand people.

But it wasn’t because farming was really Brown’s lifelong dream. First Fruits Farm donates a heavy percentage of its harvest to local soup kitchens and other institutions devoted to feeding the hungry.

This year, Brown harvested fifty tons–or, if you prefer, 100,000 pounds–of sweet potatoes. Of those, he donated 46,000 pounds to help feed the hungry.

That’s on top of 10,000 pounds of cucumbers he donated earlier this year, and along with countless other fruits and vegetables besides.

And Brown’s explanation is as simple as his goal:


I want to help people. My agent tells me I’m crazy. Nobody walks away from the NFL. You don’t walk away from a multimillion dollar contract. Most players scrape and claw and hold on to try to squeeze out one more season. But I’ve got another dream.

website statistics