By Jeff Shearer
For Josh Bynes, time management has rarely been a problem.
"My last semester at Auburn, I had an internship (at Family and Children's Services in Opelika). So I was working and playing football at the same time," Bynes said. "It was so hard, but that prepared me. I was waking up to lift at 6 o'clock in the morning, then at 8 o'clock I had to be at work. Then after work, I'd go straight to football practice. That was my whole fall semester the year we won the national championship."
Bynes, Auburn's leading tackler on the 2010 title team, is once again balancing football and work. He recently completed a three-week externship with the National Football League Players Association in Washington D.C.
-- NFLPA (@NFLPA) March 4, 2016
"I would love to be a player development director when I'm done playing," said Bynes, a linebacker for the Detroit Lions. "I've worked with the player engagement directors with both Detroit and Baltimore. Both of them have been influential. They've given me some direction in what I want to do in my life after I'm done playing."
Bynes, who won a Super Bowl ring with the Ravens in the 2012 season, wants to teach life skills, such as money management, to incoming players.
"This is something that stumbled upon me in college when I changed my major my freshman year," he said. "Little did I know that it would be something that would become very useful for a time when I'm done with the League."
Bynes changed his major from Mathematics to Human Development and Family Studies after a speaking engagement at his aunt's school in Albany, Georgia.
"She told me just to show my face," Bynes said. "It was my freshman year; I didn't know anything. Without any warning, I was the guest speaker. After that event, it just kind of changed my life. People were very attentive and were responsive to everything I said. They showed their love, asked questions. I felt like I changed and impacted a lot of people at that time."
Nearly a decade later, Bynes is still making an impact, despite not getting drafted in 2011 after graduating in three-and-a-half years.
"As far as success in the NFL, you can't get any better than the SEC, of course. Auburn's just been very great to me. It's just one of those programs, it's known, when you come there, it's not about how many stars you have. Auburn has never been that kind of school, in general," he said. "We get guys who come in, they're not necessarily 5-star guys, and we turn them into great players.
"In the League, it's the same situation. I was an undrafted guy. As you see now, undrafted guys are flooding the league. Because it's not about that first-round pick, second-round pick, because undrafted guys have pretty much taken over," Bynes said. "We're showing a lot more grit, a lot more perseverance. And I think Auburn teaches that going into the league."
At Auburn, Bynes developed what he calls his "futuristic mindset."
"You can never be so stuck in the present, you've got to be worried about what's next," Bynes said. "Right now, I'm still focusing on playing football. Right now, that's number one. You never know in this business when your time has come. At the same time, I'm not going to sit here and wait for when it's done and then have think about what I want to do next. I want to have a plan formed, so it can be a successful transition."
Focusing on football, while preparing for the next challenge. It's been a winning formula for Bynes since those non-stop days in the fall of 2010.
"It was pretty tough, but at Auburn, our theme, our motto, is work, hard work. That's our thing. In order to get what you want to get out, you've got to put in work. That work is going to be hard, and it's going to be rewarding at the end. Auburn prepared me for that, because everything I've done has not been given to me, there's been some work. It's been hard. But at the same time, I've persevered, and here I am going into year six in the NFL."
Jeff Shearer is a Senior Writer at AuburnTigers.com. Follow him on Twitter: Follow @jeff_shearer