For the first time in three years, All-MAC senior Khalil Mack has some competition for best linebacker on campus. Arthur Moats, a three-year veteran of the Buffalo Bills defense, is briefly trading in the “I” for a “U” and is currently serving as an intern in the Buffalo Bulls athletic department as part of the National Football League’s Player Development Program.
With the Bills entering the offseason, Moats will be spending the 2013 Spring semester floating around to different aspects of the University at Buffalo athletic department, hoping to explore possible interests that he can pursue after his pro football days are over.
“For me, I’m looking to further educate myself about opportunities post-football,” Moats said. “The biggest thing was always getting to the NFL, so once I accomplished that, my next question was what do I want to do next. Even if I play 10 years, I’d still only be 31 years old, so I want to see what next step could be interesting for me.”
Despite his good-natured personality, knowledge of the game, and interpersonal skills, Moats passed on a chance to attend what he calls “Broadcast Bootcamp” – a chance for players to gain experience towards a future in television after taking the pads off. Already a favorite of the fans and local media, he instead opted to stay in the area with his family and earn life experiences within the Buffalo community.
Through the NFL’s Player Development Department – which helps players pursue further educational and occupational experiences off the field – he first interned with United Way last year. While with the organization, he shadowed the organization’s account executives who would travel to different corporations and raise money for the community. After enjoying the experience, Moats was on to the next opportunity as a member of the UB athletics staff.
“This is a big university and I had a lot of experience from my college days working with academic advisors and marketing,” Moats said, “so I contacted people at UB to see if we could set something up.”
Already with a strong, long-standing relationship with the Bills organization, the Buffalo athletic department was happy to welcome Moats aboard.
“The NFL Player Development Department is a valuable asset to NFL players and we’re glad Arthur decided to gain experience here at UB,” University at Buffalo Athletic Director Danny White said. “Arthur understands the importance of planning ahead for life after football. He will be a tremendous role model to our student-athletes.”
As a standout defensive lineman at James Madison University, Moats credits his school’s athletic and academic administrators for helping him earn his diploma and become one of the top football players to ever come out of the storied program.
“My academic advisors were the ones who I spent the most time with in college, Moats said. “They got me ready for my classes, worked with my professors, and helped me with my schedule planning. That struck me and made me say ‘hey, I want to be around athletics but I don’t want to coach, and I want to positively influence kids but I don’t want to teach. So I could possibly see myself being an academic advisor.”
While many professional athletes use the offseason to finish their degrees or look for investment opportunities, the 24-year-old Moats is interested in broadening his horizon and find out what field he may one day find himself in.
“I’ve done the whole go back to school thing,” Moats said, referring to the offseason of his rookie year when he returned to James Madison to earn his degree in Political Science. “Now it’s about going out and getting more work experience, because that’s what I don’t have, unless you count Hollister or Wendy’s.”
While he remains in the hunt for his next phase of his working life, Moats is committed to living out his dream as an NFL player and eventually finding the perfect job where the rush of sports is never too far away.
“As an athlete, you always want to have that competitive nature and drive,” Moats said. “You never want to go from playing on the field to just sitting behind a desk. So whether it’s in the media or as an academic advisor, all that is interesting to me.”
“This as an opportunity for Arthur to gain experience in the various professional areas within our department,” said Kellie Peiper, Buffalo’s Director of Student-Athlete Excellence and Moats’ supervisor, “and also for our staff and student-athletes to work closely with Arthur to explore the skill sets that have allowed him to compete successfully as a professional athlete. It provides a great learning model for all involved.”