Arthur Moats hit Vikings quarterback Brett Favre, and his legacy was created by ending another one.
Moats' career was just beginning in 2010, a sixth-round draft pick of the Buffalo Bills and a rookie crunching one of the league's greatest players. Favre's was ending, his ridiculous 297 consecutive games streak ended because of Moats.
It seems fitting, if not eerie, Moats would come to Pittsburgh to play for the franchise notoriously associated with punishing hits, most recently ones that drew punishment from the league itself. He has a tattoo across his back bearing the words of his slogan, "Don't Cross the Moats." A good description of his mentality on the field, but by all accounts, not an accurate statement of who he is off the field.
By all accounts, Moats' disposition is not that of the surly James Harrison, but the more amiable Ryan Clark. Moats was the Bills' Walter Payton Man of the Year Award winner in 2013.
He said upon winning the award:
"It’s a huge honor, and it comes with a lot of responsibility, as well," Moats said. "I’m humbled by it. I feel like I’m in a position where I can influence people and touch a lot of lives. My family and I understand the spot we’re in, and want to help people out and let everyone know that we’re in Buffalo to be a part of the community."
Moats is from the same area as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin, and scores of other college and pro players and coaches. Portsmouth, Va., is 30 minutes from Tomlin's hometown of Hampton, an area in which Tomlin holds a clinic and fundraiser each year.
He grew up around the same area and is the same age as Virginia Tech product and Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor as well, yet another example of the rich football tradition in the area. That background aside, though, Moats is known as a high-character guy who's greatest asset may be related to his disposition.
He's flexible. He has no issue with whomever moved his cheese. Playing multiple positions after playing at small-school James Madison, he didn't take issue with playing inside or outside, 3-4 or 4-3, defensive end or stand-up pass rusher. Moats is known, if not entirely as the guy who hit Brett Favre, but as a guy who's been doing whatever his team has needed him to do.
So call him an outside linebacker now, who knows how long it will be before he's on the inside due to something out of his control.