Jason Brown, the former NFL star who retired from football so he could grow crops to feed the hungry, delivered his own child Tuesday at his Louisburg home.
Brown and his wife, Tay, had planned to have help for the home birth, but the mother went through labor so quickly that Lunsford Bernard Brown III made his debut before the reinforcements could arrive.
“It was an incredible experience,” said Brown, a former St. Louis Rams center who retired to buy a farm and give away the crops. “It was unbelievable.”
The baby was named in honor of Brown’s older brother, who was killed in military action in Afghanistan. Tre, as he will be called, weighed 8 pounds, 9 ounces.
Tre is the Browns’ fourth child. J.W. is 7, Naomi is 31/2, and Noah will be 2 in December.
“Delivering Tre was a surprise,” Brown said. “My wife and I were one praying couple.”
Tay Brown, a dentist, had the couple’s first two children in a hospital. But the Browns had a midwife help deliver Noah at home. A midwife was en route when Tre was born.
“I was trying to hold on, but I told Jason, ‘This baby is coming now,’ ” said Tay Brown, who said she was feeling great on Wednesday.
She said he had confidence that Jason would be able to help her through delivery.
“Home birth is something we felt strongly about,” she said. “I’m a praying woman, and my husband is a praying man, and we believe that God has a plan for our family.”
Jason Brown is from Henderson and played college football at UNC-Chapel Hill. He played for the Baltimore Ravens and the Rams in the NFL from 2005 through 2011. He had the opportunity to accept a contract with a new team after being released by the Rams but was ready to start farming.
He had no farming experience but bought a 1,000-acre farm near Louisburg in Franklin County with the intention of growing crops to donate to food shelters, churches and other organizations that feed the hungry.
Working with the Society of St. Andrew, the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, and the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina, his First Fruits Farm distributed more than 10,000 pounds of cucumbers and 100,000 pounds of sweet potatoes.
He plans to plant in twice as much acreage next year and hopes to have a Great Harvest Festival next November with fishing, hayrides, a corn maze and live entertainment from local churches.
Since a story about Brown ran in The News & Observer last November, he has received national attention. Brown has been featured on CBS News and has been contacted by several major television talk shows. There is even talk of creating a reality show based on his experiences farming.
“All of that is on hold,” Brown said. “I asked everyone to give me a couple of weeks. My wife was expecting a baby.”