The Seattle Seahawks signed Nate Boyer, a 34-year-old former Green Beret, as an undrafted free agent over the weekend.
During the years when most NFL players are playing college ball or starting their pro career, Boyer was serving two tours of duty in Afghanistan. He first set foot on the gridiron when he enrolled in the University of Texas at age 29.
Boyer soon became a successful long snapper for Texas and recorded more than 500 snaps without a single bad toss in the bunch.
Despite his much harder work as a soldier and Green Beret, Boyer wasn’t downplaying his football success.
“Yeah, I’ve done things that are more difficult,” Boyer said. “You can’t really compare the two in a lot of ways, but this is a huge challenge in itself. This is the best athletes in the world. Just to get an opportunity and be able to compete… And I’m playing for a great team in a great city. I couldn’t be anymore thrilled. Just for the chance that’s all you can ask for.”
Another veteran is getting the hard eye from the Green Bay Packers. The Pack has offered West Point graduate Raymond Maples a shot at convincing them to offer him a contract at this year’s rookie minicamp.
Maples is sixth all-time on the Army West Point rushing list.
These aren’t the only members of our nation’s armed forces who have found their way to the NFL of late. The New England Patriots drafted the Naval Academy’s Joe Cardona in the fifth round this year. Cardona was the first Naval Academy graduate to be drafted since 1993 when Bob Kuberski was picked by Green Bay.
There is some question about whether or not Cardona will be given clearance from the Navy to join the Patriots. Thus far the question is still unresolved.
One other member of the armed forces was drafted after Kuberski, but Caleb Campbell, who was selected in the seventh round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions, ended up being called to active duty and missed his opportunity. Campbell did end up on the Lions in 2010 for a single season.
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