Former NFL player Jesse Palmer in Miami

Jesse Palmer

Jesse Palmer is coming back to where it all began for him: The Sunshine State. The former “Bachelor” star (2004, season 5) and current sports commentator played college football (the quarterback, hello) at the University of Florida, and later moved onto the NFL with the New York Giants. Palmer, 38, will be in town Sunday at Bazaar Mar by José Andrés at SLS Brickell for a charity brunch benefitting UM Sylvester Cancer Research Center.

Tell our readers about what you are doing in Miami.

I partnered with Wayne Boich and Matt Brooks to create this brunch in order to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. We are very thankful to Bazaar Mar, which has offered to donate both the food and space, and with this brunch we are hoping to raise $100,000. Cancer is a disease that affects so many people, and on a personal note, I recently lost a very close friend to cancer, so I wanted to find a way to help. I am extremely excited for this event, and proud to say that every dollar will go to directly to the charity.

You attended UF on a football scholarship. Can you talk about that?

My four years at UF were some of the best years of my life. I miss The Swamp, the fans, the locker room and the huddle. I feel so lucky to have played for such a great program at such a wonderful university.

What is your best college memory?

We used to work out at 6 a.m. in the off season. Right after, I had a 20-minute walk at sunrise on the way to a lecture at Norman Hall on the other side of campus. It was like a walking meditation, which was really therapeutic after such strenous exercise. I also have many great memories just kicking it with the fellas at Hall 95.

What about Miami? What’s your favorite thing about visiting?

It’s such a cosmopolitan city. I love the culture, the energy, the food, and of course, the beach. This city has its own soul and its own identity. There’s really no other place in America like Miami.

How you would sum up your stint on “The Bachelor?”

It was phenomenal. A surreal experience. I think I learned a lot about myself throughout the journey and I learned a lot about television. In an unforeseen way it probably helped prepare me for my positions now on ESPN and “Good Morning America.”

What advice would you give future contestants?

Just be yourself. Be true to yourself.

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