The Seattle Seahawks have released Nate Boyer, a 34-year-old rookie and former U.S. Army Green Beret who was trying to make the team as a long-snapper.
While Boyer hopes to get another crack at the NFL, his life would still be complete without it. Indeed, since graduating from high school in the late 1990s, the Tennessee native has gone from one adventure to the next.
“The only thing I (knew) was that I didn’t want to go to college,” Boyer said on CBS Sports Radio’s The Doug Gottlieb Show. “That’s about all I had in front of me. I knew I had a sense of adventure and I wanted to do some different things. I actually worked on a fishing boat first for about a year.”
Boyer worked on a boat in San Diego. Albacore, mostly. Yellow tail. Blue fin.
“It was awesome,” Boyer said. “I loved it. I was earning my own living, manual labor, working with my hands – being a man. That’s how I felt – putting bread on the table for myself. That was really cool.”
Around 2000, Boyer moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. He considered film school but couldn’t afford it.
“I wasn’t going to ask my parents to send me to art school,” he said. “Obviously there’s no guarantees with any of that stuff.”
Boyer wound up being in a Greyhound commercial. He didn’t speak in the commercial but was featured throughout.
“That’s about where that ended,” Boyer said of his acting career.
After “spinning his wheels” for a bit, Boyer did some backpacking to gain perspective and eventually found himself doing relief work in Darfur.
“That totally just opened my eyes and changed my life,” he said. “I gained so much patriotism over there and love for my own country and perspective. I came back and I immediately signed up to join (the Army).”
Boyer opened up about his experience in Sudan.
“Some of the images, I’ll never forget, especially with the children,” he said. “Kids that are maimed or missing limbs, but still smiling – it’s insane. Some of the most generous people. They just inspired me. So happy with what they have – just to be alive, just to have a second chance. You came back here and you want to punch everybody in the afce, including yourself. Because you’re just like, ‘Man, we are so spoiled. We gripe about everything.’ I’m the same way. I still do it today. I start complaining about stuff and then I just try to remember what it’s like for most of the world.”
Boyer spent time in Iraq and Afghanistan and was honorably discharged at 29. At the time, he felt that going to college was a now-or-never proposition, so he applied to Texas, got in and decided he wanted to walk-on to the football team.
“I didn’t even know what a long snapper was when I got there,” Boyer said. “But after a year, I realized the long snapper was a senior and the backup was a senior and I was like, ‘Man, that spot’s going to be open.’ So I started learning how to long snap and ended up winning the job.”
Boyer went undrafted this year but signed a free-agent contract with the Seahawks in May. He was released Tuesday.
“I’m going to play this out,” Boyer said. “I’m staying in shape in case another team calls, but otherwise I got lots of things that I want to do. Some of them are lofty. Some of them are not.”
Of course, Boyer has done everything that he has ever set out to do: fishing boat, acting, Army, football. The list goes on.
“Obviously I’ve been doing some work – and I want to continue to work – with a lot of veterans organizations and just improve the lives of guys coming back here that need help,” Boyer said. “Obviously we have a problem in this country with taking care of wounded vets, and the veteran suicide rate is 22 a day. Ridiculous. It’s just horrible. And then on top of that, I do want to eventually work back in the film industry. I think there’s been a lot of good stories I could help out with being told – military or not. I know that’s such a powerful medium and that industry has a lot of power. For whatever reason, they really latch on to it and listen to it. The amount of money and goodwill that could be done – and maybe isn’t – I’d like to be a part of that change I think.”