Whether you like football or not, everyone loves a good story. I recently got a chance to speak and sit down with San Francisco 49er Tarell Brown about the game, the team’s hope of returning to the Super Bowl and of course what is the meal of a champion and starting cornerback during the season and out.
Humbly and very focused, Brown loves food just as much as he loves the game of football. Born in New York and raised in Mesquite, Texas (near Dallas), no matter where the NFL star’s career takes him, the memories of food and family will also be there. “I started at a young age learning how to cook and just watching and trying to observe the little bit that I could when I wasn’t outside playing with my cousins,” recalls Brown. “I picked it up, especially when I had to start coming home and cooking meals by myself. I just wanted to be pretty good at cooking so I didn’t have to eat terrible food all the time.”
Life of a NFL Foodie
The University of Texas graduate still has visions of his mother’s lasagna, grandmother’s Swedish meatballs and stepmother’s stuffed bell peppers which are guilty indulgences during the off-season. For now, it is not about Southern comfort but performance. “Back then I could eat anything, but now I really have to watch what I eat,” says Brown. “I am a big seafood eater and like grilled tilapia and salmon, things of that sort.”
On a typical day, it is an egg white omelet and yogurt for breakfast, a spinach salad and some fruit for lunch and a steak and some good carbs for dinner. “I try to give myself one day a week where I can kinda go totally left,” or in other words, days where he can cheat. Dessert, more specifically a brownie sundae, is at the top of the list. Brown gives himself a month and a half during the off-season to enjoy being a foodie and then it is back to the seasonal diet routine.
During our conversation in San Jose at LB Steak in Santana Row, Brown acknowledges that being in the league has allowed him to travel and try a variety of foods from different backgrounds. He is all about exploring and says that he likes to be on the lookout and try the best restaurants in each visiting city or destination. The conch in Turks & Caicos won him over so did the jerk chicken in the Virgin Islands and different dishes in Hawaii.
Giving Back to His Community
At just 28, Brown is very professional and dedicated to making sure the 49ers have another great season as the team prepares to take up new residence in the city of Santa Clara in 2014. Familiar with the downfalls that money and notoriety can bring, he is very cautious about how he handles situations and is a man with a plan and uses sound financial judgment when it comes to his money.
Back at home, Brown spends his summers giving back to the community. His foundations include Browns Kids where he hosts a free football and cheerleading camp each year, STUT (Stronger Than U Think) to help single mothers and Born Again which gives convicted felons a second chance to be positive contributors to society. The city of Mesquite honored its hometown hero by making June 25 Tarell Brown Day. Each year, he also sponsors a turkey drive at Mesquite Friendship Baptist Church around Thanksgiving.
“The biggest thing for me is that I am blessed in so many ways that I just want to let people know that I haven’t forgotten where I came from and not only that, I really enjoy doing it,” Brown says about all of his philanthropic efforts.
In terms of what will be on Brown’s plate this Thanksgiving, it will pretty much be the seasonal routine as family members know what to bring that doesn’t allow for too much temptation. “The only thing they tempt me with is cheesecake. That is my downfall. My stepmother and my grandmother make amazing, amazing cheesecakes. I can eat a whole one by myself and might not eat dinner.”
Look for Brown, number 25, on the field November 10 against the Carolina Panthers and November 17 against the New Orleans Saints. To learn more about him and his foundations, visit www.tarellbrown.com.
For a look behind the scenes of our photoshoot with Brown, check out the photos below taken on location at LB Steak in San Jose at Santana Row (334 Santana Row, 408.244.1180).