In most cases, a 34-year-old has no shot of making it into the NFL. But Nate Boyer is not like those other cases. The former Green Beret in the U.S. Army is chasing a pro football dream that began with him teaching himself how to long-snap while on special forces duty.
In 2010, Boyer walked on to the football team at the University of Texas. It was two years before then-coach Mack Brown found out he'd never played football before. That's how good Boyer was.
Now, Boyer is hoping he can latch on with an NFL team. On the surface, this goal seems like a pipe dream: the NFL doesn't have much interest in old rookies, and Boyer is much, much older than his peers. And, while he's a talented long-snapper, there aren't a lot of job opportunities in the NFL -- most teams employ only one, and those lucky players that do get a job try to hold onto them as long as they can.
But, as Peter King explains for MMQB, there are reasons Boyer can't be completely dismissed. Despite his age, he's very good at long-snapping: he's logged more than 500 long-snaps at Texas, and every single one hit the mark.
King also notes that his speed in delivering the long-snap is right in the ideal range that NFL teams look for. Mechanically speaking, Boyer is NFL-caliber. Boyer has also been endorsed by Colts long-snapper Matt Overton, who has worked out with him and believes Boyer is more than just a feel-good story.
"There is no question in my mind he can do it. None. He can legit long-snap at the NFL level," Overton told King.
Another thing Boyer has going for himself is that NFL long-snappers have a longer lifespan than other position players. If he were a running back, he'd already have passed his prime playing window. But with a little luck, Boyer could last a half-decade or more.
Having a Special Forces physique and training doesn't hurt with that, either. Boyer may still be considered a long-shot, but his skill will be taken seriously.