By Mr. Nick Duke (Benning)April 17, 2013
FORT BENNING, Ga. (April 17, 2103) -- Soldiers from the 316th Cavalry Brigade got a special treat April 10 as a pair of NFL athletes made their way to Fort Benning to spend time with some of the troops.
A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals and Akeem Dent of the Atlanta Falcons, both former University of Georgia standouts, said they wanted to make the trip to Fort Benning to learn more about what goes into a Soldier's daily routine.
"We just wanted to come and see what they do," Green said. "So many people watch us on TV and have no idea what's really going on with us, so we wanted to learn a little bit more about what they do on a day-to-day basis and learn more about the people who are serving our country and giving us the freedom to do what we do. It's just been good to come and be able to hang out with them."
Green and Dent's visit was organized by professional motorcycle rider Nate Kern, who also participated in the visit.
Both Green and Dent will report back to their respective teams before the end of the month, but were able to make the trip thanks to the reprieve from football that the offseason provides.
Although there are some similarities, the offseason is one of the many things that make a Soldier's life much harder than that of a professional athlete, Green said.
"We are all on a team, and fighting for a common goal," he said. "The leadership you learn is similar, and you learn that the biggest thing is to fight for the guy next to you. I think coming here is more demanding. We definitely have more freedom to do what we want to do, and of course, we have an offseason."
Dent echoed Green's sentiments, saying that both the military and the NFL focus on instilling a sense of camaraderie.
"Both our jobs are really about bringing guys together for a common goal," Dent said. "We go out and compete day in and day out, but they go out on the battlefield and compete in war."
And while both will soon participate in voluntary organized team activities, the events of last season have not yet left their minds.
Both Green and Dent watched their alma mater, Georgia, fall five yards short of winning an SEC championship and playing for a national title when the Bulldogs lost to Alabama in the SEC Championship Game at the Georiga Dome.
Despite that disappointment, Green said he was proud of the season that UGA had last year.
"Some of my friends were still playing last year, so I'm always going to keep up with them no matter where I am," Green said. "It was good to see them have a great season last year."
Dent, meanwhile, dealt with additional heartbreak in January, when the Falcons fell to the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game, a defeat that came in similar fashion to the one Georgia experienced a month earlier on the same field.
"You go into every season with goals that you want to accomplish," Dent said. "Falling in that same end zone, those same few yards away like Georgia did was hard. We're going to come back strong this year. We've got a lot of guys. The staff is doing a great job of putting guys together and getting the pieces we need to make the run that we want to make."
Kern will return to Fort Benning May 3 for a motorcycle safety workshop.
The workshop will be held 9:15-11:45 a.m. May 3 at Patton Hall, Building 5145.
For more information, contact Sgt. 1st Class Julian Glascoe at 315-222-6612 or firstname.lastname@example.org.