One is a 5-foot-11 long snapper in his mid-30s who never played organized football before walking on at the University of Texas, busy instead as an enlisted Green Beret.
Another is sixth all-time on the Army West Point rushing list and months out of the U.S. Military Academy, stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia, in the early stages of his career as a military officer.
Aside from service, they have one more thing in common: The chance to make an NFL roster.
The Seattle Seahawks offered Texas long snapper Nate Boyer a free-agent deal shortly after the conclusion of the NFL draft on Saturday, and the Green Bay Packers have invited Raymond Maples to their rookie minicamp that begins Thursday, according to a HudsonValley.com report from Sal Interdonato.
Boyer recently left service, having transferred into the Texas Army National Guard from the active-duty Army while playing at the University of Texas. Maples received advance permission from his chain of command at Benning to attend minicamp if any NFL teams extended the offer, Interdonato reported.
While Maples had been off the football radar after wrapping up his Army West Point career in December, Boyer's quest for an NFL roster earned major media attention, including visits with Jim Rome and the NFL Network's Rich Eisen, as well as the support of Fox Sports NFL insider Jay Glazer.
"I'm playing for a great team in a great city," Boyer told the NFL Network on Saturday. "I couldn't be anymore thrilled. Just for the chance: That's all you can ask for."
Boyer, who has packed on 30 pounds to his 190-pound playing weight at Texas (he found it difficult to add weight while on deployment over the summer, he said), told Army Times in January that his post-Longhorn itinerary included an internship with the Hollywood production company run by Peter Berg, the director behind "Friday Night Lights," "Lone Survivor" and "Battleship."
But in discussing his future plans, he said, "If it includes a stop in the NFL, why not?"
Army West Point's Raymond Maples, here turning upfield against Air Force in 2014 action, has been invited to the Green Bay Packers' rookie minicamp.
Photo Credit: Mike Groll/AP
While Boyer has a contract offer, Maples will look to earn one during the Green Bay minicamp. No decision has been made on future leave for the active-duty officer should he draw the Packers' attention, according to the report.
Kevin Lilley is the features editor of Military Times.