There are plenty of careers that make sense for NFL players after they retire. Broadcaster, coach, teacher… chocolate salesman? That’s the route that former Chiefs receiver JJ Birden has taken, reports Wendell Maxey.
Today, Birden, 45, is an executive with Team X 88 in Lake Oswego, a company that sells delicious, healthy dark chocolate products that the company says work as an anti-inflammatory.
Birden could escape hungry defensive backs during his career, but there was no running from the toll the game took on his body. He grew tired of taking Advil and Aleve. Glucosamine, Naprosyn and other anti-inflammatories didn’t cut it, either.
“I came across this study on dark chocolate actually being healthy and good for your heart. I thought, ‘no way,’” he said. “I found this company [MXI, which produces Xocai chocolate products] with clean chocolate that was unprocessed and all natural. Raw cocoa is high in anti-oxidants when it is not processed. I just figured I’d sample it, and it worked.”
And Team X 88 was born. Birden, who endured multiple knee surgeries and battled plantar fasciitis, felt better after eating the dark chocolate.
“I probably noticed a difference in about a week,” he said. “I stepped out of bed one day and my foot felt better, and the only thing that changed was I was consuming this dark chocolate. I just started sharing it and it was like a ripple effect.”
So instead of taking a pain reliever I can just have a chocolate bar? I think that’s a plan most of us would sign up for.
It’s funny that Birden — who admittedly never weighed over 162 pounds — would be pushing any food, chocolate or otherwise. I would expect a 300 pound lineman to go into the chocolate business, but if anyone is used to doing the unexpected it would be Birden.
Hey, JJ, I would be happy to sample your product.