When sitting down to talk with Jarvis Green you realize two things immediately: Jarvis Green is the nicest guy in football and he does it all.
After studying engineering in college, Jarvis was drafted to play football for the New England Patriots where he won two Superbowls, all while doing two internships to better learn different business structures, particularly the restaurant business.
After that, he had a brief stint with the Denver Broncos before joining the Houston Texans. Meanwhile he’s opened a restaurant, a construction busisness and a charity foundation.
Check out the exclusive interview to hear his whole story!
You’re definitely a jack of all trades, you have the businesses, football, the charity. How do you find time for it all?
Well, I guess it’s just time management. I’m always on the road. It’s just about taking things one day at a time. During the day I’m a dad, I got three kids, and my wife goes to school in Denver for culinary arts. So after I get the kids to school and whatnot, I go to work in my office in Denver. I own a construction company, called Millenium Construction.
I got the charity that I started. I knew a lot of people in New Orleans when Katrina hit and so when that happened, I started the charity organization for single, disadvantaged working mothers. We do all kinds of events. We did a wine event in Houston because I’m a big foodie and wine guy also. I owned a restaurant a few years ago. Just getting around. Trying different things. So yeah, life, just living. That’s where I’m at right now. Take it one day at a time.
Tell us about the lockout, what do you think about what’s happened and what’s happening now?
I was flying to Denver and had a layover in Boston. It’s funny, because a lot of people still recognize who I am because I played for the Patriots for so long. We had a 3 hour layover and people were saying hi and whatnot and this one guy tapped me on my shoulder, I was half asleep, and he said, ‘Hey, Jarvis, would you mind giving me an autograph for my son.’ And I was like, yeah, cool. He said he didn’t want to bother me and I said no sweat, man, don’t worry about it. I signed the autograph for his son and he was saying how he followed me on Twitter and we talked for a little bit about how he was Patriots fan.
Later I got a hit from him on Twitter saying, you know, you’re a great guy and just saying how he thought of me as a role model. I thought, you know what, a guy like that, that’s the reason why we plan. We have fans that we forget about. I know it’s up to the unions, it’s up to the owners, but we’ve got hundreds of millions of fans that are paying these prices to come out and watch us play. It’s expensive to go to a pro football game and we forget about that. You saw all the fans saying, we want football. And man, those fans are serious. It’s not a joke. The fans want football. So hopefully it will work out and I know things are moving forward, but still things aren’t final.
Let’s talk about your charity, the goal is to help disadvantaged single working mothers?
That’s right. My foundation is so funny because we don’t do the basketball game, charity things, we do more wine tastings, wine socials. We’re working on our first golf tournament for next spring or summer. People come together and shake hands, all my events have live music, cigars, fire dancers because I’m a big foodie, I love to eat. I love to make my pallet work. So going to Providence, RI and getting 23 different resturaunts to donate food and then having 400 different wines. The one in Houston is going to be the same type of thing. We do all those things, we throw parties, events for single disadvantaged working mothers. We spend the money but you get all these things and you’re still helping single moms. We change lives. One of them we bought a home for a couple years ago.
Where else does the money go?
Well, we help with car payments, food, bills, holidays, Christmas, Easter. Anything they need it for, for the kids, we do it. School supplies. We make them happy. We do anything through the foundation, anything that makes them happy.
What about your businesses? What’s the story on the restaurant?
I had the restaurant for about two and half years. I went to school for engineering, so for me doing blue prints, working out structure, that’s something I love to do. And a lot of people said, man, don’t get in that business, it’s tough, 80 percent of people fail. I’m the type of guy that says, let me try it so I can learn. I have to do it to learn. For my process, from A to Z, I started sketching out the process. I think I was in a football meeting sketching out these plans. It came through, I found an old building in my old town, an old bus station from the 1930s, I blew it out and renovated it. It’s so sad because I sold it about two weeks. It was my baby.
Why did you sell it?
Well, the restaurant business was doing great. It’s my home town, Donaldsonville, Louisiana. And they had put on two parades for me, so me putting up a restaurant, I was giving back. I gave 35 jobs to my community. This is a town of 10,000 people and I gave 35 jobs to my community on the main street. It was called The Capitol, beautiful place. But I guess when you’re successful and doing things the right way you have a lot of people who don’t like you. So I had to close the business for about eight months at one point. But I finally sold it and the guy I sold it to, I’m going to be there to support him when he needs it. But if somebody asked me if I’d do it all over again, I’d say, yes, I would. I’d probably do it different. At the end of the day I lost a lot of money but that’s part of investment, part of taking risks and I have to move on. But I’m a foodie, I love trying different things and I did make a lot of people happy. But before the restaurant I did a two year internship while I was with the Patriots.
I was playing football and did two internships, a Rolls Royce internship and then an internship with a restaurant. While I was doing the internship people thought I was just being a drunk hanging out all the time, but during the day from lunch time to 4:30 or 5:00 I was there all the time just learning everything from purchasing sales, auditing, organization, from the kitchen guy washing dishes up to the manager. So when people see me at 5:00 with a glass of wine in my hand I was watching, watching the mannerisms and the way people were moving through the kitchen. So at the end of the day it’s a tough business but people can’t say I didn’t try. But from there, I did my construction business. I went to school for that, so people can’t tell me I can’t do that. If I was not playing football I would be in the construction field. But my partner, he’s a neighbor of mine and for three years I begged him, I wanted to buy interest in construction. He never gave me the chance but then when I had the chance I had to sell him what I brought to the company not just financially but also business-wise. So now we’re sitting here April 29th and we have a company where we have a the opportunity in the next year to do $50 to $60 million as a growing company. So that’s really big. We’ve got different contracts with the government with Wal-Mart.
Things like that are stuff I try to stress. I try to tell people that there are athletes out there that know what they’re doing, that are trying to make a difference. Because you only hear the bad stories. Guys get stabbed, guys go to jail for drugs, guys beat their wives. You hear the negative stories, but you don’t hear the positive stories. So I’m one of those guys who are trying to make a change. To make a difference. I plan to have my construction company help retired NFL players. That’s one of my dreams.
What’s your favorite wine?
I like the Meritage, I like the blends. I like the red wine Meritage. Meritage is a blend of three different kinds of grapes or more. When I first started drinking wine, I used to start drinking it in college to lose weight, I’d stop drinking the hard stuff and stop drinking beer and I’d drink wine. I used to just get the cheapest stuff I could find. But now I’ve been learning a lot about wine because of the wine events I’ve been holding. I’m still a baby but I’ve been learning about the taste, what you eat it with, how you hold it, sip it, swirl it, sniff it. I love wine like guys like collecting cars. I have a long way to go but I’ve got my room in my basement with all my wines and it’s just something nice that I can appreciate. That’s my hobby. And I always tell people, I’m not a wine critic or expert. But just for me, my love of wine is a part of my life.