From Talk Business & Politics content partner, KATV News:
Eddie Jackson made the biggest play of his career as a Razorback at War Memorial Stadium. Now, he’s back in town for a reason he could have never imagined 15 years ago.
“I had to walk away from the NFL because of injuries, and the day I retired, I asked my dad, what am I going to do now? I’m 28 years old! He was like, what else do you love to do? I was like, I love to cook, and he’s like, well do that!”
Jackson, who played for the Hogs in the early 2000’s, did just that. He started working at a food truck in Dallas. One day, he was watching Food Network and saw an ad for the reality show, “Food Network Star.” He applied, competed, and won.
“One of those things where you worked so hard for something, and it’s taken away from you. I was able, and fortunate, blessed to find another passion and work just as hard, and it got to the point where this was me achieving my goals and I was just overcome with emotion.”
As Food Network Star, Jackson got his own show: BBQ Blitz. He’s traveling the country, shooting episodes. Last week, he shot an episode in Little Rock.
“The very first time I stepped on the field for the Razorbacks was in Little Rock, I mean just over at the stadium. I got an interception for a touchdown and when I found out I was going to be doing the show, I was like, the very first city I really want to go to is Little Rock.
“It really means something to me. I’m a Razorback, through-and-through so I just had to come back and show a little appreciation for it.”
The city has helped him launch two careers: one in football, the next in food. Now, he has a message for other athletes that face a similar predicament after their playing career ends.
“When it’s over for you, you have to readjust your mind and try to find another passion. I know guys that, football was taken away from them,” he said.
“When you can’t do that, you have to find something else. You have to find another niche, a backup plan. That’s what I did with cooking.”
Jackson’s show debuts in October on Food Network.
You can watch a video interview or leave comments here.