Kevin Minter and Walter Booth didn’t begin their friendship as business partners.

Minter and Booth first met before Minter was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals, before he played in the 2012 BCS Championship Game for Louisiana State University, before he was a Class AAAAA first-team all-state linebacker at Peachtree Ridge and before he transferred there from Berkmar.

Booth worked as a personal trainer when Minter was a middle schooler. He came to work out with professional athletes. The future NFL linebacker competed with pros and future pros as an eighth grader.

Booth worked with renowned trainer Gary Schofield, whose Gwinnett County ties include being the strength and conditioning coach for Greater Atlanta Christian teams.

“We mainly trained pro athletes and elite college athletes,” Booth said. “We didn’t do a ton of high school or middle school players, but this kid and his brother kept wanting to show up at our gym wanting to train, and (Minter) held his own as an eighth grader.”

Booth and Minter stayed in touch after Minter went to play at LSU, where he competed in the 2011 BCS National Championship, and Booth went to law school.

Back then, Minter was about hitting the weight room. His focus was on getting stronger, faster and more fit. Now he’s more focused on training smarter rather than harder. Minter’s previous relationship with Booth rekindled after Booth finished law school and Minter turned pro. The Peachtree Ridge grad was looking for some small investments and Booth mentioned the idea of opening The Joint Chiropractic franchises, starting near Minter’s hometown. Minter said it was a no brainer.

The franchise was founded by metro-Atlanta natives, but the corporate headquarters for the company is in Scottsdale, Ariz., not far from where Minter was playing for the Arizona Cardinals on Sundays.

As an NFL veteran, Minter’s focus is on wellness. He played 16 games in his second, third and fourth NFL seasons with the Cardinals. He’s played a combined 16 games in the two seasons since.

Last year, Minter was placed on injured reserve by Cincinnati in December 2017, then by Tampa Bay in December 2018. Last season, he registered 10 tackles and one sack in five games before his season ended after Week 11.

Minter said he practices what he advocates as the owner of multiple Joint Chiropractic franchises. His focus on fitness and body maintenance includes special attention to his back. He’s been making routine visits to chiropractors since he was a teenager.

“Being a pro athlete, I get (chiropractic care) twice a week,” Minter said. “It has to happen. You’ve got to be aligned right to hit these 300-pound guys every weekend.”

Minter’s NFL career wasn’t left in limbo for very long. He signed a one-year contract with Tampa Bay prior to becoming an unrestricted free agent this season.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers general manager Jason Licht is the former Director of Player Personnel for the Arizona Cardinals and new Buccaneers head coach Bruce Arians was Minter’s first NFL head coach in Arizona.

Minter must have a convincing presence in person because his personal relationships have helped him stay employed by NFL teams. He spent the 2018 preseason with the New York Jets before he was cut. Former Jets head coach Todd Bowles was defensive coordinator under Arians in Arizona. He’s now back in the same position under Arians in Tampa Bay.

“It’s going to fun, it’s going to be interesting,” Minter said. “(Arians) is a character. The league missed a guy like that. I’m glad he’s back and glad he’s my coach again. Coach Bowles is my D-coordinator as well. It’s always a good situation when you’re back with a guy that drafted you.”

The Joint Chiropractic location in Peachtree Corners is the second that Minter and Booth have opened in Gwinnett County. They opened their first local clinic in Duluth in September of 2018. Booth and Minter also own the distribution rights for areas of south Florida.

Taylor Denman is a reporter born and raised in Gwinnett County. He came back home to seize the rare opportunity of telling stories about the county in which he grew up.