Just as one Seahawks hero — Earl Thomas — returned to practice, a real hero exited.
The Seahawks released undrafted rookie free agent long snapper Nate Boyer on Tuesday. The ex-U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret said after Friday’s preseason opener in which he snapped on placekicks that he realized it could have been his only NFL game.
As the Seahawks took CenturyLink Field just before kickoff against Denver, they had the veteran of multiple war tours in the Middle East lead them out of their locker room carrying a large American flag.
“It felt good,” Boyer said Friday, beaming.
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He was inside the Seahawks’ locker room, a couple feet left of Russell Wilson’s locker. He was wearing his smile over a black T-shirt with red and blue rifles, machine guns and pistols shaped into the form of the American flag.
“I enjoyed it,” he said of his exhibition debut four years after he took up football for the first time as a most unlikely and decorated walk-on at the University of Texas.
“You never know, this might be the only one I get.”
Seattle signed Boyer to a free-agent contract in May minutes after the draft ended. But once the Seahawks had re-signed veteran long snapper Clint Gresham this offseason through 2017 it was obvious he was going to be the team’s only snapper.
The Seahawks got Boyer onto preseason game film for other NFL teams to review and possibly use as a reason to sign him.
That’s far more than he could have fathomed while dodging IEDs in Afghanistan a few years ago.
Boyer’s exit was as classy as his Seahawks entrance in May.
“Just don’t go feelin sorry for me people!” he tweeted Tuesday. “I’ve been given more opportunities than most, especially those overseas...”
TYLER LOCKETT’S COLLEGE QB SIGNS
Jake Waters filled Boyer’s spot on the 90-man preseason roster. Waters is an undrafted rookie free agent who was Seahawks rookie wide receiver Tyler Lockett’s quarterback at Kansas State through last season.
He texted Lockett of his agreement with the Seahawks, arrived at 2 a.m. Tuesday and was on the field throwing with Russell Wilson and R.J. Archer hours later.
No. 2 quarterback Tarvaris Jackson is out at least two weeks and possibly longer with a high-ankle sprain.
Waters played two seasons with Lockett after arriving at Kansas State from Iowa Western junior college. He played the last seven games of last season at Kansas State with a shoulder injury he wasn’t fully over when he signed in May with the Jacksonville Jaguars. They released him in June.
“I wasn’t fully cleared when I was in Jacksonville, but I am now,” Waters said after his first Seahawks practice.
Lockett is already helping him with Seattle’s playbook, which was a foreign language to the new quarterback during Tuesday’s practice.
Both laughed and agreed it was déjà vu from when Lockett welcomed Waters to Kansas State two years ago.
All-Pro CB Richard Sherman was back practicing after missing three workouts and the exhibition opener with a hip-flexor strain. … DE Frank Clark sat out team drills. Coach Pete Carroll said Monday the team’s top rookie draft choice had a sore ankle after playing with one Friday. … CB Tharold Simon was in pads and practicing with his fellow cornerbacks for the first time since offseason shoulder surgery. … It was Day 2 of Seattle’s change of previous starting RT Justin Britt at left guard and former backup LT and college TE Garry Gilliam as the starting RT. Drew Nowak was again the first-team center. Keavon Milton, a former TE with Cleveland who has been one of five guys to be the first-team LG this month in practices, was the second-stringer there today. … Jimmy Graham is human, part four: The new, star TE dropped a pass from Archer over the middle during team scrimmaging, the ball smacking off his hands. It was maybe the fourth ball he’s dropped in 14 camp practices. … Further proof Carroll rewards guys who perform in preseason games with promotions in subsequent practices: Ronald Martin was again the first-team FS and Dion Bailey the starting SS for the second consecutive day. T.Y. McGill, the undrafted rookie free agent who was outstanding in the second half of Friday’s exhibition opener, was the No. 2 DT in team scrimmaging. … Douglas McNeil, the converted WR trying cornerback, missed another day of practice with a sore ankle. … K Steven Hauschka chipped more balls off the edge of practice field onto a green floating about 100 yards away in Lake Washington than Champions Tour pro John Inman, WR Jermaine Kearse and Archer did to win a post-practice contest to help publicize this weekend’s Boeing Classic at TPC Snoqualmie Ridge. … From the Fell-Out-of-the-Sky Department: Retired Seahawks CB and Tacoma native Marcus Trufant, Wilson High School Class of 1999, is scheduled to skydive onto the Virginia Mason Athletic Center’s field before practice Wednesday morning. Trufant, who has never jumped out of an airplane, is doing the stunt as part of a new partnership between the Seahawks and Talking Rain Beverage Company.