To former National Football League (NFL) center Jason Brown $37 million and the opportunity to play his favourite sport wasn’t enough to hold him back from helping those in need. Brown walked away from the NFL mid-contract, leaving the remainder of his $37 million deal on the table to pursue a chance that he saw as much more valuable -something that is undoubtedly quite admirable.
Brown, a former center for the St. Louis Rams – who was considered by many as one of the most fearsome players in his position -decided to give more meaning to his life by quitting the NFL to become a farmer. He purchased a farm in his home state of North Carolina totaling more than 1,000 acres, with the plan to grow food and give it away to charities and those in need.
In 2009, Jason Brown signed a five-year, US$37.5-million contract with the St. Louis Rams that made him the highest-paid centre in the NFL. It’s that fact that made his agent describe Brown’s decision as “the biggest mistake of his life.”
In fact, Brown had never farmed a day in his life! He confirmed that he learnt how to do the job by watching videos on YouTube after CBS News asked.
He also added:
“My agent told me, ‘You’re making the biggest mistake of your life. And I looked right back at him and I said, ‘No I’m not. No I’m not.’’”
During his interview, he also talked about serving God, and how he was doing that through farming. He said that in the eyes of God, a life of greatness and a life of service does not see him in the NFL; it leads him to a life of farming. He added that he plans to donate the first fruits of every harvest to good pantries.
Annually, Brown gathers advice from local farmers in Louisburg, North Carolina then starts growing sweet potatoes and cucumbers. The new farmer yielded his first harvest: 100,000 lbs. of food and donated it to local food pantries. He doesn’t have a single regret over leaving the NFL.
Talking to CBS News, he said:
“When you see them pop up out of the ground, man, it’s the most beautiful thing you could ever see.”
Rebecca Page, who organizes food collection for the needy, told CBS:
“It’s unusual for a grower to grow a crop just to give away. And that’s what Jason has done. And he’s planning to do more next year.”
What Brown did is really remarkable, a strong step that probably won’t be recreated by many NFL multi-millionaires these days. Would you do it if you were in the position of Brown? Share your thoughts in the comment section below!
(1) CBS News
(2) Washington Post
(3) Yahoo Sports
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