Nate Boyer had one of the wildest football careers of all time. After serving six years as an Army Green Beret with combat deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, he took up football despite having never played a down in high school. That career went a lot further than anyone could have imagined and, since he left the game, Boyer has turned to helping others and just made a movie that dramatizes his efforts.
Boyer and Fox Sports NFL Insider Jay Glazer co-founded the nonprofit organization Merging Vets & Players (MVP), with the aim of bringing together combat veterans and former professional athletes as each tries to redefine their sense of purpose after their respective uniforms come off.
MVP has set up chapters in Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, New York and Seattle. A group meets at a gym each week, and after a workout, the group spends time swapping stories on the mats in what amounts to a low-key form of group counseling.
Boyer co-wrote and directed "MVP," an upcoming movie that dramatizes how his group started. It's the story of an NFL veteran saved from scandal by a homeless veteran on the streets of Hollywood.
Boyers stars in the film, along with Mo McRae ("Sons of Anarchy"), Tom Arnold ("True Lies"), Vietnam War veteran Dan Lauria ("The Wonder Years"), NFL veteran Jarrod Bunch ("Django Unchained"), Dina Shihabi ("Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan") and Skye P. Marshall ("Good Sam").
The "MVP" cast also features military veterans Daril Fannin, Shawn Vance, Josue Baron, Andre Andrews, Alexander Angelikis and Randy Couture, an Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer. Broadcasters Rich Eisen and Glazer make cameo appearances, alongside NFL legends Tony Gonzalez, Howie Long and Michael Strahan.
Boyer made an effort to include veterans in the production. Every military veteran character in the movie is played by an actual veteran, and almost half of the film crew served.
There's no word yet on distribution for "MVP," but according to a story at Deadline, the NFL is planning to screen the film at events around the Super Bowl, the NFL Combine and the NFL Draft.
Boyer walked on to the University of Texas Longhorns team and became their long snapper, the player at the center position on punts, field-goal and extra-point attempts. That's a major accomplishment for a guy who was more than half a decade older than his oldest teammates and quite a story to share with the grandkids.
But Boyer wasn't finished. Even though he wasn't picked in the NFL draft, he signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks and played in some preseason games in 2015. A year later, he advised Colin Kaepernick that sitting during the national anthem could be seen as disrespectful and suggested that he take a knee instead. That was a nice idea, even if that move didn't quite get the reaction that Kaepernick and Boyer hoped it would.
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