RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Nyheim Hines describes himself as a "southern, Raleigh kid," so it's hardly surprising that he's been a huge fan of Bojangles' restaurant since childhood.
He's even got a go-to order: "Four-piece supreme dinner, large fries, iced tea, Bo-Berry biscuit on the side and BBQ sauce." Hines confided to me that several friends have tried to sell him on the honey mustard sauce, but he's a man with a set routine.
As Hines grew older and blossomed into a star football player, that love of Bojangles' took on a different vibe. Moving from Garner High School and onto NC State, his NFL dreams started to come into realistic focus. All the while though, his dad, Darrin, was a constant voice of fiscal responsibility.
"I was always wanting to go to the NFL and my dad always told me, when you have an opportunity, invest in an asset."
Hines' twin sister Nyah and mother Nannette reinforced those messages. As fleeting as an NFL career can be, they weren't going to allow Nyheim to become another cautionary tale of washing out of the league and washing out of money.
Hines isn't built that way anyway, but the messages stuck. He decided that he wanted his post-playing days to be spent in the fast-food industry. Specifically, becoming a Bojangles' franchisee.
To that end, with the help of his agent, he's learning the business from the ground up. His first day at the counter on Western Boulevard was a gameday Saturday in 2018. State and FSU were playing. He remembers being terrified as the line grew out the door, filling orders for 100 pieces of chicken and dealing with some less than satisfied customers. "People were mad," he laughs.
Tuesday's experience was a little less stressful. The lunch rush seemed to have passed, but there was a steady stream of business. Hines worked the counter, taking orders and then relaying the information back to the kitchen. He had unit director Carol Mingo by his side, frequently correcting him. Still -- she sees a bright future for him in the chicken business.
"He has great customer service. He's very eager to do the job. He's willing to do it. He has that smile," she said.
With his smile and drive, Hines is likely to succeed. Once he's played another 10 to 12 years in the NFL of course.
Former NC State, current NFL star Nyheim Hines risks it for the biscuit at Bojangles'
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