This story, written by John Frierson, was originally published on georgiadogs.com.
Arthur Lynch likes to brag to his former Georgia football teammate, roommate and very close friend, Aaron Murray, that he has a higher completion percentage than the record-setting quarterback.
Murray still holds the SEC record for career touchdown passes with 121 during his exceptional career – one of numerous passing records the All-SEC standout set – but he didn’t complete every single pass he threw. Lynch, the former All-SEC tight end, attempted one pass in his career and completed it, on a fake punt to Sanders Commings in the 2012 SEC Championship Game against Alabama.
Lynch was drafted in the fifth round in 2014 by the Miami Dolphins, but after short stints with the Dolphins and Atlanta Falcons he was out of football a few years later. Now, after a few years working in the corporate world in Boston, he’s living a much different life as a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army, stationed at Fort Benning.
During a recent Quick Chat, Lynch talked about life in the Army during the coronavirus pandemic, his one completion, what his future may hold and much more. Here’s some of what he had to say:
Frierson: Given that you’re in the Army during this pandemic, what has your life been like the last four-plus months
Lynch: I think it’s a pretty standard answer, that it’s been a little bit unpredictable and certainly unorthodox, that’s probably the best word. Because we’re on a military base, all the directives come from general orders, from the commanding officer of the installation. We got shut down pretty early … and we were put into self-quarantine, work remotely I want to say in late March or early April, and that was pretty much the standard through May.
When things kind of started opening up again, we went back to regularly-scheduled operations. But a few weekends ago, everyone kind of got put on notice when the virus started spreading again down here. Things are slowly getting back to normal, but the past four or five months, working remotely, obviously everything on post is not shut down, but we can’t eat in restaurants, in groups. We don’t have the same liberties as civilians do, but I can’t complain.
I’m still able-bodied, still getting paid, still have my job, so I certainly am not dealing with any of the repercussions that a large group of Americans are dealing with, so I have zero complaints. It certainly has not been normal life, as you can imagine.
Frierson: What does it mean to be working remotely when you’re in the Army?
Lynch: I’m currently assigned as an XO, an executive officer through a company commander, so I technically have a desk job, so to speak, even though I’m in the infantry. A lot of the stuff that I’m doing, I just communicate with my company commander. Sometimes that’s going out to the field when we’re doing training activities, but mostly that’s mission planning, planning for training and kind of whatever he does. I like to call myself a glorified assistant for the company commander, but I get to learn a lot and I do a lot of different things for him.
I don’t want to call it strictly an office job, but being a commissioned officer, there’s certainly a lot more paperwork than I initially anticipated. When you think of the Army you think of G.I. Joe and going out and doing a bunch of stuff, but a lot of people have to plan for all that. The opportunity that I have right now is to work with him to the best of my ability. He’s a really great guy, he went to West Point, and I’ve learned a lot from him.
Frierson: I was looking back through your stats from your Georgia career and you had 56 catches, which is great, but I want to hear about the one completed pass, for 16 yards. Do you remember that?
Lynch: Of course I remember it. I always tell Aaron that I have a higher completion percentage than he does. Aaron is one of my closest friends, he was my roommate, so I’ll always give him grief for that.
It was funny, obviously that was a pivotal moment in the game, and unfortunately, we did not win that game. I was a personal protector on punt for three years and that was the second year I was doing it. We’d been practicing that play for probably six or seven weeks and we had a couple of different fake punts. If you go back and look at the film, we ran a fake punt where I was under center and the ball went through my legs to Malcolm Mitchell, against Kentucky, and it got called back.
Coach Lilly, John Lilly, who’s now the tight ends coach at North Carolina, he always wanted to have one or two fakes ready to go. This particular one, I never thought we were going to actually run it, and when we started preparing for Alabama, he said, when we’re in punt safe, their defense that they line up with, there’s a soft spot that we can hit.
You rep it so much that it becomes second nature, but I just remember throwing my hands up, running off to the sideline, going up to John Lilly and saying, “Do you think Tom Brady was impressed?” because I was a big Patriots fan growing up. He just laughed at me and was like, of course, you’d be thinking of Tom Brady and the Patriots in this moment.
That’s one that will go down in the books, for sure. It was an awesome moment and unfortunately, we didn’t win the game. I wish we’d have won the game because it would make for a better story, but it was certainly something I’ll never forget.
Frierson: Do moments like that, when you’re called on under pressure to do something that you’re not necessarily used to doing, do they help you in your career now or like when you first joined the Army and they’re constantly putting you in uncomfortable situations?
Lynch: Yeah, certainly. … After football, there was kind of a gaping hole in my life – it was an emotional one, a physical one and a mental one. It was like, what do I do now? How can I translate all of the things that I learned through competitive sports, and football in particular, into a successful life? Not just a successful career but a life. …
When you put your body and your mind through a difficult task on a daily basis, as you do in competitive sports, you want that same feeling. And when you’re missing it, you yearn to find a replacement for it.
I had several friends that were in the military and they described what their time was like while serving, both people that were commissioned officers, enlisted guys, combat, non-combat, you name it. For me, I realized that I wanted to challenge myself on a daily basis, both physically and mentally, like I was in football and sports. Luckily, I had the opportunity after working a couple of years in Boston in the private sector, in a corporate job, I applied and got into the military, and I immediately found that those things that I was missing were now fulfilled. …
Each day in the military, whatever we’re facing that day, we’re ultimately kind of excited about the challenge. It’s going to challenge you mentally and it’s going to challenge you physically. … At the end of the day, you’ve got to find the best possible outcome with your teammates, in this case, soldiers. For me, it was an awesome experience and I’ve loved every second of it.
Frierson: I was looking at your LinkedIn page and it’s a fascinating collection of jobs and experiences, from working on a political campaign to NFL tight end to a corporate gig to a 2nd Lieutenant in the Army. I’m not sure LinkedIn has too many profiles with that kind of variety. What do you see 10 years down the road?
Lynch: I’ve always been interested in politics and a lot of people always thought that I was going to get into it. Really, in the past six or eight months, I don’t want to say I’ve been discouraged, but I think ultimately in life you want to find something where not only can you make a career out of it … but you also want to find something you’re passionate about and something where you’re able to impact people positively.
That’s something that I’ve always felt I wanted to do because there have been so many people in my life that have impacted me positively. Guys like Coach (Mark) Richt, guys like John Lilly, friends and former teammates and family members. In the past six or eight months, I’ve wanted to transition myself for when I’m out of the military, to be in a situation where I can positively impact other people.
Ironically enough, coaching is something that has been coming back in my head, for probably the better part of the past four or five months. This is something I might be good at and I would be able to impact people the way I was impacted so positively. I can’t say for certain that I’m going to be a football coach at the college level, but it’s certainly something that’s on my mind.