Brant Boyer may have been a few minutes late for the party, but he will be the one turning out the lights at the end of the evening.
Boyer’s party — his passion — is football. The Ogden native and North Summit High graduate played 10 years in the NFL and, after nearly a decade away from the league, has returned as an assistant special teams coach for the Indianapolis Colts.
It’s not exactly the career path Boyer and others might have anticipated when he first walked on at Snow College, undersized but determined to succeed.
“I knew he was going to be a good one,” said Paul Tidwell, former head coach at Snow and current inside linebackers coach at BYU. “He needed to get some strength and put some weight on. … He worked hard and came back and started the next two years.
“What a competitive, hard-nosed kid. He had the attitude and makeup you dream of when coaching an inside linebacker — tough, aggressive, and loved to hit.”
Boyer’s play at Snow earned him a scholarship to the University of Arizona, where the linebacker enjoyed further success leading the vaunted “Desert Swarm” defense.
Five years after playing Class 1A football in Utah, Boyer was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the sixth round and spent a decade in the NFL playing in Miami, Jacksonville and Cleveland.
He played 129 games and served as special teams captain for both the Dolphins and Browns.
“I played for so long and I was burned out,” said Boyer, who amassed 250 tackles and 13 sacks in his career. “I got tired of the physical and mental stress the game puts on your body.”
Boyer retired in 2003 and four years later started a hunting tour company with former Dolphins teammate and fellow hunting enthusiast Tony Cesario. The Colorado-based Outwest Adventures offers trips to hunt elk, moose, deer, antelope, turkey and geese.
Though the business has been successful, Boyer still wanted to stay connected to football. Two five-week coaching internships with the New York Giants (2010) and the Browns (2009) only increased his appetite further.
Earlier this year, the opportunity to get back in full-time arrived. New Colts coach Chuck Pagano, who had served as secondary coach during Boyer’s time in Cleveland, called with a job offer.
Boyer traded hunting rifles for punt-coverage gunners.
“I started missing the game again, started missing being on the grass again and started missing the guys,” Boyer said. “That’s what ultimately brought me back in.
“It’s one of 32 jobs on the planet like that and I’m lucky to have one.”
Boyer said he believes his years as a player in the league and his experience on special teams lends to his credibility. And his message to the young players comes directly from his approach to the game.
“These players don’t understand how fortunate they are to be where they’re at,” Boyer said. “There’s a reason guys stay in the league a long time and that’s because of the extra work they put in. It’s their life, it’s not just a job to them.
“It’s so noticeable as a coach. Some don’t understand how important it is to take advantage of that.”
The full-time gig means Boyer will move his wife Melissa and their two young sons to Indianapolis this summer. The expectations of an NFL coaching job are too demanding, he said, to live 1,800 miles from family.
If his playing career is any indication, Boyer is more than prepared to tackle the grind of his new position.
Tidwell, who fly fishes with Boyer in the offseason and has sought and given coaching advice from him in recent years, in confident his former player will succeed.
“I was happy to see him back in the NFL,” Tidwell said. “I know it’s something he’s wanted to do and we’ve talked about.
“I know he’ll do a great job there. He’s got that coaching mentality. He’ll be really good with the players and he will demand a lot from them. He’ll be an excellent coach.”
About Brant Boyer
Former North Summit High and Snow College linebacker Brant Boyer is in his first year as an assistant special-teams coach for the Indianapolis Colts.
Boyer spent 10 seasons playing in the NFL with the Miami Dolphins (1994), Jacksonville Jaguars (1995-2000) and Cleveland Browns (2001-03).
Boyer co-owns Outwest Adventures, a Colorado-based hunting tour company, with former Dolphins teammate Tony Cesario.