Scott Hanson has a pretty cool gig hosting the NFL RedZone show weekends, giving pigskin-loving fans all the up-to-the-minute updates on games as they happen. But few viewers know that before his high profile TV job, he was handing out food to the homeless.
Hanson played as a four-year walk-on at Syracuse before going into small-market TV in his native Michigan and Illinois. USA Today reports in 1996 the young broadcaster gave it all up to move in with others Christians working to serve the homeless.
"I was in a dark broken lost place in my life," Hanson tells USA Today. "I'd been obsessed with being a network TV sportscaster. My life unraveled through my own sin.
"Some people thought I was going crazy because I was so obsessed with my TV career. Television had been my god. It may sound hokey, but I turned to Jesus Christ."
Working as a volunteer for Missionaries of Charity, a Mother Teresa inspired organization, Hanson lived in a 10-by-7 room making sandwiches for homeless and helping them get ready for job interviews. In 1997, he decided to get back in the TV biz, landing a local job in Tampa before other regional gigs for Comcast in Philadelphia and Washington.
Hanson, saying he was again burned out on the TV biz, eventually dumped most of life's material possession, except for his BMW, and drove around the U.S. before returning to work at the Christian brothers mission.
He missed a call on his cell phone from the NFL Network in 2006 offering him a one-day tryout at a game. Hanson returned the message declining the offer. Eventually he landed a full-time position at the fledgling football network in 2007.
Hanson celebrated his 40th birthday by climbing scaling Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania in addition to working for free at missions in the worst part of Nairobi. The USA Today reports Hanson has served as live bait in an Australia shark cage and gone on medical missions in the Amazon.