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Farming pays sweet dividends for Brown

Former NFL center Jason Brown wanted to learn about farming after his professional career came to an end.

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Brown has learned quite a lot apparently as he gave away 46,000 pounds of sweet potatoes to the local community last weekend, the Raleigh News & Observer reported.

"If we're truly going to inspire change, if we're truly going to see change in our food system and in ending hunger, we're going to have to give our best," the 31-year-old Brown said in a video posted by his alma mater of North Carolina.

"More people take interest in saying, 'Well, hold on a second, why did this NFL player give up his career and all of that money to be a farmer?' And what it's caused is, there's many more First Fruits Farms and First Fruits Gardens popping up all over the world, and that's awesome."

Brown signed a five-year, $37.5 million deal -- with $20 million guaranteed -- with the then-St. Louis Rams in free agency in 2009. When he retired after being released in March 2012, Brown bought a 1,030-acre farm near Louisburg, N.C., and he began giving away crops from his First Fruits Farm to local charities.

Brown's First Fruits Farm already had yielded 10,000 pounds of cucumbers, which were also given away.

Brown was a three-year starter at center at North Carolina and was selected during the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. He shuffled to left guard during his first two seasons before starting every game at center during 2007 and 2008.

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