Food Network star's journey from NFL to chef

For Eddie Jackson, it all started with a biscuit.

A passion for food started at a young age for Eddie. As a child, he would help his grandmother make biscuits at the local high school in Georgia. Those memories and fondness for food helped the former NFL player reach a new spotlight as winner of season 11 of "Food Network Star."

"I've been around food my whole life and sports was something that was very important to me," Eddie said. "I was privileged to be able to make it to the NFL. But like a lot of other guys, I got hurt really bad. I tore my ACL and had to retire after that."

After retiring from the NFL, Eddie thought a great deal about what the next journey in his life would be. He then used the same competitive grit towards his new focus beyond the field: food.

"I was like, 'You know, I love food. And I can cook really, really well, and I've been doing it my whole life. I got to find something to do with food."

From there, Eddie went on to be a food truck owner, private chef and personal trainer. His hard work eventually led him to "Food Network Star."

"It was very intense and it was a lot harder than I thought it was going to be because the level of competition was so high," Eddie said. "Bobby Flay said it a couple times on the show that out of all the seasons, season 11 by far had the most competition and most talent. You could see it week in, week out."

In the NFL, Eddie played for the Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins and New England Patriots. Whether on the field or in the kitchen, Eddie had to deal with a fair amount of criticism. He also called the final score of Super Bowl 50, 24-16 in favor of the Panthers.

"I played under Bill Belichick and under Nick Saban. These are two notorious crap talkers. I feel like if I can handle that from those two guys, two of the best that have ever done it, two of the best crap talkers of all time, then I think I can take a little trash talk from Bobby Flay and Giada. I think I can handle that."

Being a lover of food and football, Super Bowl parties are always a fun event. Other than ice-cold beer, he says a must at Super Bowl parties is food you can eat with one hand.

"The worst thing you want to do is walk around with a plate of food and you have to use both hands. You want to be able to hold your beer in one hand, and your food in the other."

After he won "Food Network Star," Eddie was hit with tons of emotion. After having to leave the pinnacle of football, he worked his way back to elite status, this time with food.

"When I won 'Food Network Star, 'I was just so emotional. I was just so overcome with emotion. I just felt like everything worked out because of my hard work."

You can catch Eddie's show "BBQ Blitz" on Food Network. He's also featured in an upcoming tailgate-themed episode of "Chopped" Feb. 2. Looking for Super Bowl snacks? Here are recipes from Eddie himself for spicy rum chicken wings and a caribbean-style burger.

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