Jared Veldheer worked his way up to the NFL from Hillsdale College, and now he's back in Grand Rapids slinging sandwiches, and loving every minute of it.

Local Football Hero Worked His Way Into The NFL

Veldheer began his football career at Forest Hills Northern, graduating in 2005. After playing for Hillsdale, he was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the third round of the NFL draft. Veldheer lasted over ten seasons in the NFL before retiring in May of 2021, and now he's back home, loving his new life, as a school cafeteria chef.

NBC's The Today Show aired a story last week about the giant lineman turned Kitchen Director at St. Paul The Apostle School located near Calvin University on the city's Southeast side.

The 6-8, 300 pound Veldheer says he loves his new job, but says it can be demanding.

"I mean, it seems, seems a lot more mundane, but trust me, if one of those things falls out of step, then your whole operation is is in jeopardy, and then the quarterback gets sacked," Veldheer explained to Harry Smith.

Jared Picked Up Culinary Skills In His NFL Career

Veldheer has slimmed down a bit from his playing weight, and says along the way, while trying to stay healthy and in the NFL, he learned a lot about nutrition.

"I realized there's foods I need to incorporate more to have my body feel good from week to week," Veldheer recalled. "You have to be really smart and calculated about it and teach yourself to like new things and get out of the box."

The Food Is Parent Approved

Parents have complimented Veldheer for his menu choices, with some parents wondering if he'll offer take out.

Asked how good the food is, one parent admitted to Today, "It's outstanding," confessing that he "tried to duplicate it at home myself" after tasting it.

The students at St. Paul are equally approving, although they can be brutally honest.

"They're very honest, I'll say that," Veldheer said. "It's helpful … because they're happy to tell you if they like it, but they're also happy to tell you, 'No, that's disgusting.' "

Regulating His Hormone Levels Led To A Drug Suspension in the NFL

Veldheer went to social media back in 2021 to explain a drug suspension he incurred in the latter part of his career, admitting that it revolved around him trying to stay healthy. He is forthright about needing to take care of his well being, and some of the exposure he had to brain injury in the NFL.

West Michigan Whitecaps Fan Food Vote Winners

Take me out the ballgame, take me me out with the crowd, buy me some... waffle fries smothered with pulled pork and beer cheese? Well, in West Michigan that seems to be the case! Since 2010, fans have helped determine what new food items will make it on the West Michigan Whitecaps' menu. The minor league baseball team has put it up to vote for more than a decade. See what Michiganders chose to munch on while watching the Detroit Tigers farm team play!