Seahawks and Green Beret Vet Speaks of Freedom and Inspiration

Aug 14, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks long snapper Nate Boyer (48) readies himself for a play against the Denver Broncos during the fourth quarter in a preseason NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 14, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Seattle Seahawks long snapper Nate Boyer (48) readies himself for a play against the Denver Broncos during the fourth quarter in a preseason NFL football game at CenturyLink Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /

Memorial Day is just around the corner, so what could be more fitting than hearing from a former member of the Seahawks and military veteran? Nate Boyer has some very interesting things to say on heroism and patriotism, in two very different letters.

From the Green Berets to the Longhorns

Boyer didn’t exactly follow the typical career path. Let’s be upfront about this: his Seahawks career consisted of six snaps and a fumble recovery in a preseason game in 2015. (By the way, that’s directly from the source. The internet lies sometimes.)  He’s unlikely to make the Seahawks Ring of Honor. However, there’s a rather large caveat attached. You see, when his rookie competition on the field that day was still in the first grade, Boyer was in the Sudan building refugee camps during the War in Darfur.

Soon after, Boyer enlisted in the U.S. Army, and served multiple tours in both Iraq and Afghanistan as a member of the Green Beret. During his service, his future NFL competition was sharpening their skills in elementary school, maybe even middle school.

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His Army career completed after ten years, Boyer earned a spot on the University of Texas Longhorns as a walk-on. He redshirted that first year, 2010. In 2011 he got into one game on special teams, and was named the long snapper in 2012. For the remainder of his college career he made the All Big12 Academic first team. When he tried out at the Longhorns’ Pro Day in March of 2015, Nate Boyer was 34 years old.

That Seahawks career looks more impressive now

Look back at the road Boyer took to that 3 snap career again. Building shelter for victims of war. Serving his country in two other wars. Pushing himself at an age when most have given up on their dreams. Sure, it was one game, a preseason game at that. He was in for just three snaps. But Boyer made it. And he continues to inspire others today.

Waterboys and MVP

Waterboys is a project that raises awareness and desperately needed funds for water wells in East Africa. Founded by Chris Long, the organization features a rotating cast of NFL players and military veterans. Boyer continues to give back to the global community through Waterboys.

MVP, or Merging Vets and Players was created by Jay Glazer in 2015 to give both athletes and veterans direction in the transition to life after their first career. Again, Boyer is at the forefront.

Boyer’s open letter to Colin Kaepernick

Time to hear from Boyer himself. His open letter to Kaepernick was published by the Army Times on August 30th of 2016. I think it’s quite instructive. A brief excerpt:

"I’m not judging you for standing up for what you believe in. It’s your inalienable right. What you are doing takes a lot of courage, and I’d be lying if I said I knew what it was like to walk around in your shoes. I’ve never had to deal with prejudice because of the color of my skin, and for me to say I can relate to what you’ve gone through is as ignorant as someone who’s never been in a combat zone telling me they understand what it’s like to go to war."

Boyer closes with this:

"Even though my initial reaction to your protest was one of anger, I’m trying to listen to what you’re saying and why you’re doing it. When I told my mom about this article, she cautioned me that “the last thing our country needed right now was more hate.” As usual, she’s right.There are already plenty people fighting fire with fire, and it’s just not helping anyone or anything. So I’m just going to keep listening, with an open mind.I look forward to the day you’re inspired to once again stand during our national anthem. I’ll be standing right there next to you. Keep on trying … De Oppresso Liber."

De Oppresso Liber, by the way, is the motto of the Army Special Forces. It means “To Free The Oppressed”. Fitting, indeed.

Who inspires the inspiring?

Finally, our sister site Purpose2Play published a great first person piece by Boyer.

"Where I come from, heroes don’t walk the earth. They are no longer standing among us, and if they were still here, they would never let someone call them ‘hero’ without immediately deflecting.Those are the people who inspire me. They’re not necessarily the ones I get to see everyday, but they’re the ones I’ll never see again. Living for them is inspiring.Brad Keys is one of those men. I’ll tell you right now, without any hesitation, that much like myself, Brad is not a “War Hero.”"

Do yourself a favor and read the entire piece. You’ll want to bookmark the site, because Purpose2Play is filled with inspirational stories. That’s their thing. Above all, be thankful that men like Nate Boyer are out there fighting the good fight in word and deed for the oppressed everywhere.