By all metrics, Dennis Brown has surpassed all expectations. In a league where most players last less than three years, Brown played seven seasons in the NFL. During that time, he played in more than 100 games, piled up more than 200 tackles, earned 24.5 sacks and snagged two interceptions. Not to mention, he helped the San Francisco 49ers win their most recent Super Bowl title in 1995. Now, he's helping the Bay Area win much more than a sports trophy.
After playing in the NFL throughout the 1990s, Brown was in need of a space where he could still help out others. So, he joined the team over at San Francisco-Marin Food Bank. Each day, he helps feed more than 900 people and many of them don't know he's a former NFL star, but he prefers it that way.
The road to becoming a food bank worker was not easy. After being released by the 49ers, Brown struggled to find his identity off of the field and he turned to alcohol.
“That was my identity. That’s all I knew: Dennis Brown the football player. I got outside of myself. I dealt with some demons,” he explained to KPIX.
Fortunately, Brown was able to get back in control of his future. He turned to Alcoholics Anonymous, his family and service.
“When I got myself together, I went to my foundation — my grandmother — and serving. And in A.A., you talk about serving. And you dedicate your life to serving,” he proudly told the news outlet.
When the pandemic hit, Brown began volunteering at the San Francisco-Marin Food Bank six days per week. Today, he helps coordinate pop-up pantries that feed 33,000 families each week.
“I really believe it’s what I’m supposed to be doing: a life of service,” Brown said.