Skip to main contentSkip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.

Former Green Beret, NFL player Nate Boyer offers hope for veterans, athletes struggling in retirement with ‘MVP’ film

  • Updated
  • 0
Nate Boyer attends "The Terminal List" Los Angeles premiere at DGA Theater Complex on June 22, 2022, in Los Angeles.

Nate Boyer attends "The Terminal List" Los Angeles premiere at DGA Theater Complex on June 22, 2022, in Los Angeles. (Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images/TNS)

NEW YORK — With his new movie, former Green Beret and NFL player Nate Boyer tackles real-world issues affecting many members of both communities.

The ex-Seattle Seahawk directed and stars in “MVP” with the mission of showing there’s hope for military veterans and former athletes who struggle with mental health and finding purpose in society after retiring from their “glory days.”

“I hope it really helps us spread this narrative that you’re never alone, and you’re not broken just because you’ve gone through some tough stuff,” Boyer told the New York Daily News.

“Yeah, survivor’s guilt absolutely exists, but so does survivor’s responsibility. We have a lot of work to do. It’s up to us to live out those American Dreams of the men and women who didn’t come back from overseas, and we need to do that in an honorable way. And also, from the athlete’s side, bucking this narrative that they’re all just rich crybabies and they don’t know what it’s really like in the world.”

Premiering Wednesday in 35 cities, including all of the NFL markets, “MVP” stars Boyer as a former Marine and Mo McCrae as a newly retired NFL star who form an unlikely bond through their shared experience of feeling lost after leaving the only jobs they know.

The film draws inspiration from Boyer’s real-life nonprofit organization, Merging Vets & Players (MVP), which he created with Fox Sports analyst Jay Glazer in 2015 to connect ex-military members and professional athletes facing challenges with their transitions.

Boyer, 41, served multiple tours with the U.S. Army before playing college football with the Texas Longhorns as a long snapper. He had a short stint with the Seahawks as an undrafted free agent in 2015.

“When that ended, I came back to L.A. and I didn’t know what I was going to do,” Boyer said. “Was I going to go back in the military? I just felt kind of lost, and Jay approached me with this idea. He said, ‘Hey, I want to start an organization that brings vets and athletes together.’

“I’d be on the phone talking to a buddy of mine from Special Forces, and he’d be talking to a former player on the phone, and they’d both be struggling, lost, asking us for advice, ‘What do we do next?’ The biggest thing they were missing was the locker room.”

Their MVP organization started in Los Angeles, with Glazer opening his Unbreakable Performance gym to athletes and veterans once a week to train together and talk through their common issues. It’s since expanded to include eight U.S. chapters, including New York City.

Boyer had appeared in multiple film and TV roles, typically playing a military member or football player, but didn’t have much experience behind the camera before making his directorial debut with “MVP.”

He says every military character in the movie is played by a veteran, and that the experiences detailed in the script are based on real stories.

“Most of that stuff was said on the mat during an MVP session,” Boyer said. “They wrote the story. They dictated and we wrote it down, and obviously made it into a cohesive script, but those are all real stories, real people.”

The film is executive produced by Sylvester Stallone and features appearances by former NFL stars including Michael Strahan, Tony Gonzalez and Howie Long.

Boyer has frequently served as a conduit between the NFL and military worlds, including advising Colin Kaepernick that kneeling during the National Anthem in his social justice protests before games would be more respectful than sitting.

He hopes “MVP” helps viewers understand athletes and veterans better.

“I just want people to relate a little bit with someone they may feel they have nothing in common with,” Boyer said. “That can be a viewer thinking about what they’re seeing on screen, a combat vet, a former professional athlete. Do I understand these people? Do I have some misconceptions about who they are?

“Outside of the movie, in the world, can you sit across from somebody, have a conversation, be respectful, and then maybe grow together and help one another, even if you have very little in common or believe very different things? I think it’s possible.”

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. — The University of Miami’s only week off of the 2022 football season will not be an uplifting one for the No. 25 and soon-to-be-unranked Hurricanes. In UM’s final nonconference game of the season, the 25 1/2-point favorite Hurricanes were upset, 45-31, by Middle Tennessee State for their second consecutive loss and a 2-2 record as they head toward eight consecutive ...

Khalil Herbert stood at his Soldier Field locker about a half-hour after the Chicago Bears squeaked out a 23-20 win over the Houston Texans and gave a one-word answer for how he felt. “Sore,” he said with a smile. But sore in the best way. The second-year running back rushed for a career-high 157 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries as the Bears piled up 281 yards on the ground. It was their ...

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s football program started off the week in the national spotlight for reasons beyond its latest win. The 14th-ranked Nittany Lions (3-0) went on the road and defeated Auburn, 41-12, last Saturday, but ESPN recently put out a series of teaser videos from Penn State’s walk-on tryouts that have gone viral on social media. Franklin went into greater detail about ...

RALEIGH, N.C. — The most jarring thing about the ACC finally finalizing its inevitable move from Greensboro to Charlotte is that, unlike just about everything else that’s so disorienting about college sports these days, this was not done by perceived necessity. It was entirely by elective choice. That says everything about the ACC’s motivation here and what was driving the new commissioner and ...

NORMAN, Okla. — The Oklahoma football team will benefit from at least one unexpected perk when it leaves the Big 12 for the SEC. It will no longer have to play Kansas State every season. The Wildcats were once again a thorn in the Sooners’ side on Saturday at Memorial Stadium. K-State defeated Oklahoma, 41-34, for a road upset that few of the 84,376 in attendance saw coming. K-State (3-1, 1-0 ...

RALEIGH, N.C. — Sixty-nine years after its founding in a smoke-filled room inside of the old Sedgefield Inn, the ACC is leaving the city and relocating its headquarters to Charlotte, the league announced on Tuesday. The conference’s board of directors, made up of presidents and chancellors of all 15 of the ACC’s members, finalized in recent weeks what the ACC described as a “unanimous” ...

LOS ANGELES — Grayson Murphy knows what it's like to go into the bathroom, look in the mirror and see another version of himself. Because he's standing right there. That familiar face brushes his teeth in unison every morning, after always getting up at the same time. The practically indistinguishable pair will go on to eat the same breakfast, complete the same football practice, attend the ...

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. (AP) — The Miami Dolphins’ defense stopped Josh Allen and the Bills at the goal line late, then held again after punter Thomas Morstead bizarrely kicked the ball off a teammate and out of bounds for a safety in a 21-19 win over Buffalo on Sunday.

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.


Breaking News

Sports Breaking News

News Alert