Growing up in Georgia, Steven Nelson always felt he had the best of both worlds. He experienced city life being close to Atlanta but spent summers on his grandparents' farm in the rural town of Warner Robins, just outside Macon, Georgia.
Now in his eighth NFL season and first with the Houston Texans, Nelson still strives for that same balance. The Texans starting DB lives in the city during football season, but spends his free time on his farm outside of Houston.
"They go hand in hand, right? Football is, you know, it's stressful," Nelson said. "It can be stressful, it's very demanding. So for me, my getaway is to be with the animals. It's peaceful, it just kind of relaxes me and draws me away a little bit. I guess I'm recharged in a way."
The Texans signed Nelson as an unrestricted free agent this past April. After his rookie year, Nelson has gone on to be a six-year starter for the Philadelphia Eagles (2021), Pittsburgh (2019-20) and Kansas City (2016-18). In his five starts for Houston this year, Nelson has played opposite rookie Derek Stingley Jr. and recorded 27 tackles (20 solo), one tackle for loss and three passes defensed and has been reunited with his former position coach, Dino Vasso.
"I've known Steve since his rookie year in Kansas City," Vasso said. "He's not getting many opportunities in the pass game, but he's making plays when they do come."
"It's kind of been like that for a majority of my career," Nelson said. "Some seasons I'll get targeted more than others for whatever reason. But I feel like that is a sign of respect and just naturally, guys are going to target a younger player and try to move the ball that way. But that doesn't allow me to relax at any moment because at cornerback, any mistake, you know, you can give up a big play. I see all those things, but I'm always trying to work and make sure I'm on point at all times."
Instead, Nelson finds time to relax when he's on his farm. Although his love for animals began at an early age, Nelson came up with the idea of getting a farm during the pandemic. He began reading about sustainable living and researching how to live off the land at a time when people were worried about food shortages and supply chain issues. In January, just a few months before even signing with the Texans, Nelson bought his farm and hasn't looked back since.
"Right now we have a garden, like a full garden," Nelson said. "We have anywhere from chickens to turkeys. We have peacocks, pigs, goats, sheep and a miniature horse."
During his off days, Nelson gets up at 7 a.m. to take care of his chores on the farm. Once the roosters are awake, so is he, feeding his pigs, letting his chickens out to roam and graze, tending to his goats and letting out his miniature horse, Dusty.
"I take him out, give him his own little area to eat, feed the goats and the sheep," Nelson said. "And that's pretty much it. The peacocks pretty much do their own thing."
Nelson Farms will be open to the public on October 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for its first-ever Fall Festival. The festival will include face painting, sack races, animal feeding, bounce houses, food trucks, refreshments. Nelson will be signing autographs and taking pictures as well. Tickets are available for purchase online. Click here for more info.