Boyer signed with Browns as an unrestricted free agent March 12, taking on a jack-of-all-trades role as backup middle linebacker, nickel linebacker and special-teams performer ... Started two of the Browns' first 12 games, including Dec. 9 loss at New England when Browns opened in the nickel package ... Turned in six tackles, including one for a loss, and one pass defense against the Patriots ... Intercepted his second pass of the season and fourth of his career on the third play of the game in a Nov. 25 victory over the Bengals ... Replaced the injured Wali Rainer as the starter at middle linebacker Nov. 11 vs. the Steelers, turning in a career-high 13 tackles, including 9 solos ... Picked off Bears' quarterback Shane Matthews at midfield in the first quarter of a Nov. 4 loss to the Bears ... Had back-to-back 7-tackle games in victories over the Bengals and Ravens on Oct. 14 and 21 ... Returned to Jacksonville, where he played six seasons for the jaguars, Sept. 30, posting five tackles as a nickel linebacker in the Browns' 2314 victory ... Made his regular season debut with the Browns Sept. 9, turning in five tackles, including one for a loss against the Seahawks.
Boyer started 7-of-79 games in six seasons with the Jaguars ... After playing one season with the Dolphins, Boyer was the 22nd selection of the jaguars in the 1995 Expansion Draft ... Led the jaguars with 21 special-teams tackles in 1999, marking the third time in four seasons he led the club in special teams tackles ... Was the jaguars' top special teams tackler in both seasons prior to injury-shortened 1998 campaign ... Recorded a career-high 45 tackles in 2000 while posting 3 1/2 sacks and one interception ... Made five straight starts at linebacker to finish the 2000 season ... Made first interception of his career Dec. 13, 1999 off Broncos' quarterback Brian Griese ... Earned a special-teams game ball in 1999 when he posted four special-teams tackles and had his first career forced fumble in an Oct. 17 win over the Browns ... Turned in his first two-sack game of his career Nov. 7 vs. the Falcons ... Named the special teams player on USA Today's "All Joe" team that honored the league's top unsung players in 1997 ... Posted the first sack of his career Sept. 22, 1997 vs. the Steelers ... Spent rookie season of 1994 with the Dolphins, playing 14 games, primarily on special teams ... Originally drafted by the Dolphins in the sixth round, 177th overall, in the 1994 NFL Draft.
Boyer was a two-year starter at the University of Arizona after transferring from Snow Junior College in Ephraim, Utah ... Was the team tackle leader both seasons at Snow and an All-Western States Conference choice as a sophomore after beginning his career as a walk-on ... At Arizona, he was named honorable mention All-Pac-10 as a junior, ranking second on the Wildcats with 66 tackles ... As a senior co-captain, Boyer led the Wildcats with 90 tackles, including 8 tackles for a loss, 3 fumble recoveries and 2 sacks ... He closed his Arizona career by earning secondteam All-Pac-10 honors ... Boyer was a First-team AllState selection as a senior at North Summit High in Coalville, Utah, where he was a three-year letterman at middle linebacker ... He also lettered three times in track ... Brant T Boyer was born June 27,1971 in Ogden, Utah. He lives in Fruit Heights, Utah.
A career in football seemed like a long shot for Brant Boyer when he graduated from North Summit High School in Coalville, Utah. Despite earning First-team All-State honors as a linebacker, the undersized Boyer didn't have any offers to play college football.
"I was only 5-10, 180pounds, and I wasn't recruited at all, so I ended up walking on at Snow junior College in Utah," said Boyer. "You always wonder if you can keep playing. I always wanted to play, so I worked hard and fortunately it worked out for me."
It worked out for Boyer two years into his college career when he was offered a scholarship at the University of Arizona.
"I honestly never thought of (going to a major college) or playing in the pros," said Boyer. "I just took it one game at a time. Year-by-year I gained more confidence and played better and better."
Boyer is still considered undersized for an NFL linebacker, but he refuses to let labels determine what he can accomplish on a football field.
"I've got to do what I can," said Boyer. "I'm probably a little smaller and a little slower than most people, but I make up for it in study and hustle and work ethic.
Brant Boyer knows about expansion football. He was the 22nd pick of the jaguars in the 1995 Expansion Draft. A year later, he was a key factor in the jaguars turning the corner from doormat to AFC Championship qualifier.
Boyer thinks the Browns have turned a similar corner from humble expansion team to playoff contender.
"This team reminds me a lot of our team in Jacksonville in 1996 where we started believing we could win," said Boyer. "It's not just a mindset of going out and competing with people and hoping to stay in ballgames, but expecting to win every time we go on the field. It's an exciting time to be on a team like that. That's when you start having fun, when guys start believing and start playing together and knowing you can win every ball game."
Boyer credits the Browns' turnaround to a new "winning" attitude inspired by Butch Davis and his assistants.
"I think the coaching staff and the new players they brought in changed the attitude," said Boyer. "The thing the coaches tried to do here when they first came in was try to infuse an attitude that this team had not been built with losers. He convinced the team that they were winners, and that was the right thing to do. They did a heck of a job doing that."
Growing up in the shadow of Utah's mountain ranges, it was only natural for Brant Boyer to become an outdoorsman.
"I'm a big hunter, big fisherman," said Boyer. "I snowmobile four or five days a week in the off-season. I fly fish four or five days a week when I'm home in the summer.
"I did a lot of hunting when I was playing in Florida. Deer, pig, bear. Up here, I don't know any (hunters) yet, so I'm struggling to find places to hunt. I went on a fishing trip last year with my dad, brother and grandpa at a place called Monster Lake in Cody, Wyoming, and I caught so many trout in three days that my wrist hurt. All fly fishing. It was an unbelievable trip. I've been on a lot of good hunts, but my hunting has been curtailed a little bit since I've been in the league."
This article originally published in Bernies Insiders Magazine on 12/17/2001