Under the Radar

34-Year-Old Army Vet Aims for NFL Career

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On September 11, 2001, Nate Boyer was a 20-year-old at loose ends, living in a tiny Los Angeles apartment when an early-morning phone call from his mom alerted him to the terror attacks on the east coast. Like a lot of guys his age, those events eventually inspired him to enlist in the Army, where he became a Green Beret and served multiple tours in Afghanistan.

He enrolled at the University of Texas in 2009 and made the football team as a walk-on, playing in 38 games before he finished his college career. Before trying out for the Longhorns, Boyer had never played a game of organized football.

You think that's impossible? Well, never underestimate a Green Beret's intelligence and ability to assess a complex situation. Boyer decided to become a long snapper, playing the center position on punts, field goals and extra points. It's become one of the most specialized positions in the game, one that prizes consistency. With over 500 plays at the college level, Boyer had zero inaccurate snaps.

Sports Illustrated's Peter King has a profile of Boyer in his Monday Morning Quarterback column this week. The odds are long for Boyer: King says he won't be drafted this spring and will have to make an NFL  squad as a free agent and there's low turnover at the position. Plus he'd be one of the oldest players in the NFL if he did get the gig.

The most alarming fact in King's piece (at least for Longhorn fans) is that now-retired Texas coach Mack Brown had no idea that Boyer hadn't played football before until he'd been on the team for two years. Let's face it: control freaks like Ohio State's Urban Meyer or Alabama's Nick Saban would never let guys play for them unless they knew everything, starting with the names of their kindergarten sweethearts.

We'll keep an eye on Boyer's quest and post an update if he gets a training camp tryout this summer.

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