Al “Bubba” Baker spent 13 seasons in the NFL becoming one of the most feared pass-rushers the league had ever seen. Since he left, he’s chased his second career with as much ferocity as he did opposing quarterbacks and running backs.
The Detroit Lions' single-season sack record holder is on a path to become even more successful for what he’s done post-football as anything he did on the field.
In the years since leaving the league, Baker has become a boneless rib magnate.
Baker and his baby back rib company, “Bubba-Q’s Boneless Ribs,” reached an agreement to become the exclusive rib supplier for the new “Baby Back Rib Burger” at Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s -- a deal that will potentially require a million pounds of meat and became a multi-million-dollar sale for the Lions legend.
The burger, which will sell as a single patty for $5.59, a double patty for $6.79 and a one-third-pound Thickburger for $6.79, will go on sale on April 26 and is expected to be on sale in 3,000 Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s stores.
“Carl’s Jr. and Hardee’s came up to my booth at a food show because it’s a patented boneless rib,” Baker said on the update on “Shark Tank,” the television show that helped launch his company. “We’re the only people in the United States to do it.”
This is the latest in massive steps for Baker and his company after successfully pitching his product on a Dec. 6, 2013, episode of “Shark Tank.” He and his daughter, Brittani, had $154,000 in sales when he went on the show a little more than three years ago. He made a deal with Daymond John on the program to get $300,000 for 30 percent equity in his company. Baker and his daughter own a patent on their deboning process for the ribs.
It’s an investment that paid off over and over again. Baker said on Friday during an update section of the program, explaining that his company has made $16 million in sales.
“The future couldn’t be brighter for Al,” John said on the show's update. “I still believe that this will potentially be my biggest deal ever.”
Life after football has been fruitful for Baker, who had the Detroit record 23 sacks in 1978 and 75.5 sacks in five years with the Lions. Initially a second-round pick for the Lions in 1978 out of Colorado State, Baker played in 181 NFL games for Detroit, the St. Louis Cardinals, Cleveland and Minnesota. He started 156 of those games.
He technically registered only 65.5 career sacks because of when the stat began being tracked. But when including pre-1982 numbers, Baker had 132.5 career sacks. The 1978 Defensive Rookie of the Year made three Pro Bowls and was a first-team All-Pro during his rookie season in the league.
“I’ve been very lucky in my life,” Baker said in an update on the show. “First, to go to college. Then to play in the National Football League and then to take my business to 'Shark Tank' -- it’s proof that if you live your life with integrity and you work hard, good things happen to you.”