On a farm just south of Mount Vernon, there’s a field full of white pumpkins that sit so heavy and big, you would need the strength of a football player to lift them off the ground.

Fortunately, the farmer who grew those pumpkins happens to be former NFL player Matt Kroul. Once a lineman for the New York Jets and a standout player for the Iowa Hawkeyes, Kroul has returned to his family’s farm in Linn County.

Matt KroulInstead of the football field, Kroul now spends his days working in the farm fields, where his family grows a wide variety of crops, vegetables and livestock.

“There are so many parallels with football and sports to business and...