Former Green Beret and NFL player still "pushing the limits"

Ex-Green Beret finds higher purpose with NFL ... 04:29

Watching the Rams practice, Nate Boyer is standing on the sidelines of the football field.

"I mean, I'm jealous. I'd like to be out there myself," Boyer told CBS News' Adriana Diaz.

Boyer doesn't spend much time on the sidelines. At 23, he volunteered in Darfur doing relief work and later served tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan. He joined the Green Berets and earned a Bronze Star. During his downtime while deployed, he taught himself how to play football and later became a walk on for the Texas Longhorns as a 31-year-old sophomore.

Then last summer, he got an unlikely shot at the NFL as a long snapper for the Seattle Seahawks.

But as a 34-year-old rookie, Boyer knew a permanent spot on the roster was a long shot. He was released by the Seahawks last August.

"I was definitely disappointed but... I got cut from playing professional football for a living, oh boo hoo, you know?" Boyer said.

The day after he was cut, you could say the NFL came calling again.

"It was a phone call, and Nate and I hit it off immediately," Rams defensive end Chris Long said.

"He didn't strike me as the type of guy that was -- if football fell through he wasn't going to know what the heck he was going to do," Long said. "He wants to change the world for the better. So I think football is...a platform he's been given."

It's a platform for a mission that now reaches far beyond the gridiron to East Africa.

Long wanted Boyer to work with his non-profit group, Waterboys. After visiting Tanzania in 2013, Long founded the organization to build desperately-needed clean water wells in the region -- not really the kind of thing that tends to get an NFL player in the headlines.

"What makes that life day-to-day so tough there is the lack of clean water," Long said. "There's a lot of people who aren't thinking about east Africa, but there are a lot of people that when they hear about a hero like Nate Boyer, their mind says, 'Whatever, this guy's interested in, I'm interested in because Nate vouches for it.'"

"That service that we've given to our country, more than anything, we end up serving those people in the third world, and for me, this was a way to continue that service in a different manner without picking up a gun," Boyer said.

To raise money for Waterboys, Boyer is climbing Africa's highest peak, Mount Kilimanjaro, along with fellow war veteran Blake Watson, who lost his leg in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. At a recent Rams game, the two got a standing ovation for their fund-raising mission.

"So do you just keep upping the ante, looking for that mission? You were a Green Beret, you were a pro football player, now you want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro?" Diaz asked.

"I want to keep pushing the limits and just see how far I can go with anything," Boyer said. "At the end of the day, I failed technically as an NFL player. For me, if I don't always, you know, reach that pinnacle or catch that shining star, its ok with me, as long as it's for a good reason and there's good coming out of it for others. That's what's most important to me cause that's what makes me feel good."

But make no mistake, Boyer doesn't give up easily.

"My football dreams will probably never be over. I'm still training. I'm still snapping, I'm still working out," he said. "I'm not exactly as young as the average undrafted free agent. But it doesn't mean I don't have just as big a heart."

And it's certainly in the right place.