"We probably all dreamed of playing college football at Georgia. We had a lot of people wanting to play because we were all friends and about the same kind of players," Lindley said. "We actually had a bunch of stars on our team. I was really nothing special. My brother is a year older than me and he was good. We had three running backs and we took turns running the ball so that nobody ran that much. We were good my junior year when we were 8-3, but my senior year we were only 3-7."
Maybe it was no coincidence that Lindley dislocated his kneecap and tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his knee in the third game of his senior season — and continued to play.
"Two weeks after I hurt it — and I didn't know then I had torn the ACL – I was at practice and hurt the knee again," Lindley said. "I thought I could play through it. I thought it was just a knee bruise."
He couldn't. He worried that colleges would quit recruiting him — and many did. "I was a little down about that," he admitted. "There were quite a few schools looking at me before I got hurt. I told them what happened and that I had dislocated my kneecap. That's what I thought it was."
Lindley played his senior basketball season wearing a knee brace, still unaware he had torn his ACL. "The last game of the season I hurt it when I tried to stop and went to get it checked out and they said it was a torn ACL. I didn't know it was torn until then. It didn't hurt. It felt regular. I could jump. I couldn't just run and stop because it would give out. I had a brace for dislocated kneecap and thought that was the only problem I had," he said.
What makes that season even more remarkable is that the 6-3 Lindley played inside. "We were all about the same size, so I played center. I guess I was our brute. But we played so everybody got to touch the ball. I guarded the big guy on defense, and that was fine with me," Lindley said.