John Broward "Brad" Culpepper (born May 8, 1969) is a former American professional football player who was a defensive tackle in the National Football League for nine seasons during the 1990s and early 2000s. Culpepper was as an All-American when he played college football for the University of Florida. Selected late in the tenth round of the 1992 NFL Draft, he became a consistent starter for the Minnesota Vikings, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Chicago Bears.
Culpepper is also known for appearing on two seasons of the U.S. reality television show Survivor.
Early life and family
Culpepper was born in Tallahassee, Florida in 1969. He attended Leon High School in Tallahassee, where he was a standout prep player for the Leon Lions high school football team.
Culpepper was born into a family of University of Florida alumni. His father, Bruce Culpepper, was a center for the Florida Gators football team from 1960 to 1962 and co-captain of the Gators' 1962 Gator Bowl team, and became a prominent Tallahassee attorney. His uncle, Blair Culpepper, was a Gators fullback in 1957 and 1958, and became a bank president in Winter Park, Florida. His grandfather, J. Broward Culpepper, was also a Florida graduate and served as the chancellor of the State University System of Florida.
In 1990, Culpepper met Monica Frakes when he was a sophomore at the University of Florida. The couple married weeks after Culpepper was drafted into the NFL in 1992. The couple have three children together. Their oldest son, Rex, is a quarterback at Syracuse.
Culpepper accepted an athletic scholarship to attend the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, where he played for coach Galen Hall and coach Steve Spurrier's Florida Gators football teams from 1988 to 1991. During his senior season in 1991, Culpepper was a standout defensive tackle and team captain on the Gators' Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship team, a first-team All-SEC selection and a consensus first-team All-American. He finished his college career with eighteen quarterback sacks and 47.5 tackles for a loss. He was also named to the SEC Academic Honor Roll all four years, was a first-team Academic All-American, and received the Draddy Trophy recognizing him as college football's most outstanding student-athlete. While Culpepper was a Florida undergraduate, he was also an active member of Sigma Chi Fraternity (Gamma Theta Chapter).
Culpepper graduated from Florida with his bachelor's degree in history after his junior year, and enrolled in a master's degree program in exercise and sports sciences during his senior football season. After finishing his professional playing career, Culpepper returned to graduate school and law school full-time, and earned his master's degree and law degree from Florida in 2001. He was inducted into the University of Florida Athletic Hall of Fame as a "Gator Great" in 2001. The sports editors of The Gainesville Sun ranked him as the No. 47 all-time greatest player of the first 100 seasons of the Florida Gators football team in 2006.
Culpepper was a tenth round selection (264th overall pick) in the 1992 NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings, and he played for the Vikings from 1992 to 1993, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 1994 to 1999, and the Chicago Bears in 2000. In his nine-year professional career, Culpepper played in 131 games, started eighty-three of them, and recorded thirty-four quarterback sacks and one safety.
Life after football
Culpepper is now a trial lawyer for the Culpepper Kurland law firm in Tampa, Florida. Since his retirement, he has spoken out about his concerns regarding the increasing size of NFL players; he believes that the increasing number of 300-pound players is "unnatural and unsafe" and has led to many serious health problems. During his football career, Culpepper inflated his weight to 280 pounds; after he retired from professional football, he lost almost 100 pounds.
Culpepper's wife Monica was selected as a participant for the 24th season of the CBS reality television show Survivor, and she and Brad participated together in the 27th season of the show. Culpepper came in 15th place while Monica was the season's runner-up.
On May 6, 2015, it was revealed that Culpepper was one of 16 men eligible to be voted onto Survivor's 31st season, Survivor: Cambodia. However, he was not voted onto it. On February 8, 2017, Culpepper was revealed to be one of the contestants competing in Survivor: Game Changers, the show's 34th season, which began airing in March 2017. Throughout Culpepper's second season, he played relatively consistently, and stayed loyal to his alliances, despite being in the minority for the most part. However, at his endgame, he won five individual immunity challenges; a feat shared only by a few other elite Survivors, which propelled him to the final three. Although Culpepper played a solid social game and was a prominent threat, his seemingly condescending attitude toward fellow tribemate Tai in the last few days hurt his odds at winning the title of Sole Survivor, as the jury voted Sarah Lacina instead to be the winner of Survivor: Game Changers.