A former football star who once played center for the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill Tar Heel and then had a $37 million contract as a center with the St. Louis Rams, has a different calling and it’s not football.
Jason Brown served seven years in the NFL, beginning with the Baltimore Ravens as a fourth-round draft pick before moving to the St. Louis Rams under a five-year deal totaling $37.5 million. At one point, Brown became the highest-paid professional center in the league. However, despite a gleaming future ahead, he felt there was a higher calling in his life and he refused to ignore it.
The former football player was inspired by the life of his brother Lunsford B. Brown II, who passed away in 2003 while serving in Iraq. While comparing his 27 years of life to his brother, he realized he too wanted to use his talents for the greater good.
Brown would receive an offer to return to the Baltimore Ravens, but he decided to venture into unfamiliar territory and become a farmer. Brown moved from his mansion to open First Fruits Farm in North Carolina.
Now, his main job is to grow sweet potatoes and other vegetables for the needy. The former NFL star has donated 46,000 pounds of sweet potatoes and 10,000 pounds of cucumbers.
“When you see them pop out of the ground, man it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see,” he said of harvesting the sweet potatoes.
After the Rams cut Brown, the Panthers, the Ravens, and the 49rs all wanted to sign long-term deals with him.
“They wanted to make me a multimillionaire, all over again,” said Brown. “Jesus told me, ‘I have something in store for you that’s far greater than your NFL career. I said, ‘really Jesus?'”
Brown is 37 years old now and the father of eight children.
“A farm is the best place to raise a family,” he described.
All the produce grown on the farm is given away to people in need. So far, the family has donated more than half-a-million pounds.
“Money does not make problems go away,” said Brown. “It has always been a heart issue.”
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