Football is a great career for those that make it to the top, but it is short-lived. With the average NFL stint only lasting three years, what’s a guy to do after his days on the field are over?
Ex-players like Joshua Perry are selling real-estate and featuring on the TV and radio scene. The likes of Jordan Thompson could have picked up on Hobby Lobby weekly ads with good deals on DIY carpentry tools and traded blocking for building. For others still, the answer lies in the kitchen. Switching out shoulder pads for an apron may not sound like the most obvious step, but an increasing number of NFL stars have their eye on culinary expertise.
Born in 1980, Eddie Jackson was a NFL star, playing as cornerback for the Carolina Panthers and Miami Dolphins. Injuries cut short his career, although he did later go on to have brief spells with the New England Patriots and Washington Redskins before retiring in 2008.
After leaving the NFL, Jackson kept up with his fitness, originally working as a personal trainer. However, he also had time to pursue a childhood dream: opening a food truck, Caribbean Grill.
Jackson has been a lifelong fan of cooking since baking biscuits with his grandmother as a child. That passion was to get him through the disappointment of having to cut his NFL career short due to the ACL injury, and he harnessed the same competitive spirit in the kitchen.
The ex-football player appeared on Season 4 of Masterchef, finishing in an impressive 8th spot. Buoyed by his performance, Jackson went on to compete in Series 11 of Food Network Star, winning the competition.
That victory set Jackson on the path to culinary success, first hosting his own show BBQ Blitz before going on to co-host other shows, and appear as a professional chef judge.
Before starting his own catering business in 2014, Tobias Dorzon was an NFL player. Starting out as a running back for Jackson State University, his career suffered a setback when he fractured his ankle. However, determined to make it to the top, Dorzon battled back and made it into the NFL in 2020.
Dorzon spent several years in football, playing for the Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before moving to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the Canadian league. It wasn’t injury that cut Dorzon’s career short; he admits to falling out of love with the game and missing his family too much.
As a child, Dorzon had already experienced the world of catering. His Liberian father ran a West African restaurant for 14 years, and it was here that the young Dorzon picked up a lifelong love for cooking.
After quitting football, he enrolled in culinary school and qualified as a bona fide chef. Since then, he’s worked his way up, gaining experience in the top restaurants before becoming a personal chef to fellow NFL stars.
As well as appearing on multiple episodes on the Food Network, Dorzon has opened his own successful restaurant. The project for 2021 is acting as executive chef for basketball star Jamie Harding’s first restaurant, Thirteen.
With a love of full-flavoured dishes and spices, combining African cuisine with modern American food, the menu promises to be exciting.