Former University of Miami and current NFL star Jon Beason plays host at a charity event on Thursday night (March 14), and he plans to get his hands dirty – but not by making any tackles as he has done for the Carolina Panthers. The linebacker will be behind the bar along with friends, making caipirinhas for those in attendance at Texas de Brazil (300 Alton Road, Miami Beach). The Carnival-style event starts at 7 p.m. and benefits Beason’s non-profit charity, Making Lives Better Foundation, which supports at-risk youth with educational support, resources and opportunities. The $100 ticket ($150 VIP includes a signature series NFL football) includes access to Beason and his celebrity guests and passed hors d’oeuvres featuring meats from the restaurant’s menu including garlic-marinated sirloin, chicken breast wrapped in bacon and Brazilian sausage. The event will also include live Latin music throughout the evening and Miami memorabilia will be available for purchase for Beason to autograph.
We caught up with Beason before the event to talk some football, Hurricanes hoops and about those mixed drinks.
We read that you will be making drinks at the event on Thursday. How good are your bartending skills?
I actually have a little background. My friends and I have been making caipirinhas for a while. So, yeah, I have made them a time or two.
What are your thoughts about the University of Miami hoops team?
Been to any games? No games, but very excited for the program. Good to see what the coach [Jim Laranaga] has done in such a short amount of time.
Why did you start the charity?
I have witnessed a lot of many talented kids not make it, just because of their SAT scores and education was not there and I want to give them the background to get it going. I wanted this for a while and I want to make sure youth athletes can keep going and have a good education base.
How is rehab going after your knee surgery?
Good. I am familiar with the set back and it builds character. There is always a next chapter.
What is it going to take for the UM football team to regain their "swagger"?
They have definitely been on the cuff, but it comes down to consistency. It can't happen overnight and they need to work to make it happen. They are a good football team but just not consistent. They need to learn and prepare how to win.
What was your reaction when you heard the allegations against the UM football program?
I was taken back, and it’s a tough situation but at this point UM has done everything they could have done. I hope the story can die and everyone can get back on track and let the kids focus on graduating.
Living in Charlotte versus living in Miami - what's the biggest difference, aside from the weather?
Home is where the heart is. Charlotte is definitely a different change of pace and the culture is different, but I love living here. Southern comfort. I love being close enough to home and it is just a great fit for me. Miami has everything - beach, suburbs, people from all over the world. You can have a good time or chill when you want.
Do you live in Miami in the off-season?
Yes, I come back whenever I can to see my family. During the off-season I like the support system to prepare my mind and body for the upcoming NFL season. I am very routine-based and in Miami I have a good routine.
Your NFC South division is one of the most competitive. What's it going to take to turn things around for the Carolina Panthers and quarterback Cam Newton?
Avoiding injury is the biggest change that needs to happen. We lose a big piece when we don't have our key players. When games are down to the wire you need your best team.
You are part owner of Brother Jimmy's BBQ in Mary Brickell Village with several other former UM players. Why did you jump into the food world?
I'm a very small part owner. It's a great opportunity to learn different things. It is nice to have something different going on outside of football because football is short lived.