Georgia football star takes a knee and pops big question at church
by Lindsay Field
lfield@mdjonline.com
September 27, 2012 01:31 AM | 6403 views | 1 1 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chris Burnette, a starting offensive lineman for the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, had a surprise Sunday for his girlfriend Arielle Haynes, who works for the Center for Family Resources in Marietta. Burnette politely interrupted church services and surprised Haynes by proposing to her. <br> Photo special to the MDJ
Chris Burnette, a starting offensive lineman for the fifth-ranked Georgia Bulldogs, had a surprise Sunday for his girlfriend Arielle Haynes, who works for the Center for Family Resources in Marietta. Burnette politely interrupted church services and surprised Haynes by proposing to her.
Photo special to the MDJ
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MARIETTA — An employee with the Marietta-based Center for Family Resources got quite the surprise Sunday morning when her boyfriend, Chris Burnette, a 6-foot-2, 313-pound starting offensive lineman for the fifth-ranked University of Georgia football team, proposed to her in front of nearly 500 members of their church in Athens, including around 50 of his UGA teammates.

“I was completely shocked,” said Arielle Haynes, who is originally from Tampa, Fla., but has lived in Roswell and worked in Cobb for two years.

“I didn’t even want to go to Athens this weekend,” said the 24-year-old Florida State graduate. “It was the Florida State/Clemson game, and I didn’t want to miss that game because all my friends were going to be there.”

She tried talking Chris into letting her miss the game, but he said he wanted her to attend the Saturday night game because it was going to be his first time being team captain. Georgia beat Vanderbilt 48-3.

Arielle said Chris acted normal Saturday after the game but not on Sunday before he popped the question.

“Chris and I serve at Athens Church every other Sunday,” she said. “When we were walking into the church, the pastor asked us to sit in the front row because they were going to be recognizing young people who serve in the church.”

During the sermon, Arielle said the pastor began talking about courage and asked the couple, who met a little over three years ago, to come up to the pulpit.

“I thought he was going to talk about Chris and I being courageous for being in a long-distance relationship,” she said.

But then everything clicked when the pastor read Proverbs 18:22, which was from the same book of the Bible that Chris referenced in February 2010 when he asked Arielle to be his girlfriend.

“It still doesn’t seem real. It happened so fast, and even when I replayed it in my head, I said ‘Wow, it’s a lot different saying fiancé rather than boyfriend,’” she said. “It’s also nice to be able to look at Chris and to know it’ll be forever.”

Arielle also said she was excited to share this moment with so many people, adding that about 50 of his teammates were there, including Chris’ former roommate and UGA star quarterback Aaron Murray.

“They had all known about it before,” she said. “I didn’t see any of them because they were all spread out in the church. They had assigned seating. After I said ‘Yes,’ they all jumped up and came down to congratulate us.”

Arielle said the wedding will be in Tampa, and they are hoping to hold the ceremony sometime next May so that his teammates can attend the festivities.
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Football Mom
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September 27, 2012
Great story! Congrats and may God bless the two of you!
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