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Hoyer gets start for hometown team

Posted Sep 18, 2013

After being named the starter in place of the injured Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer is preparing for Sunday’s game against the Minnesota Vikings.

The Cleveland kid came home earlier this year, and now, he is the starting quarterback for his hometown team.

After Brandon Weeden suffered a sprained thumb in the Cleveland Browns’ 14-6 loss at the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday, coach Rob Chudzinski selected Brian Hoyer, a native of North Olmsted and graduate of Cleveland St. Ignatius High School, to lead the team into this week’s game at the Minnesota Vikings.

“This is the opportunity you practice for, you prepare for, and obviously, I’m excited,” Hoyer said Wednesday. “I’m going to try to take advantage of it and give this team everything I’ve got to help us get that first win.

“When you dream of playing in the professional league, you dream of playing for your hometown team. Obviously, that’ll be something special, but really, now, it’s down to the business of preparing. Right now, I’m just focused on doing what I can to prepare and beat Minnesota.”

Shortly after being informed of Chudzinski’s decision, Hoyer said he focused on “what coverages Minnesota’s going to run on Sunday, what blitzes they have.”

“You get told that news and immediately, that’s all you think about, preparing,” Hoyer said. “Even last night, before I went to bed, I’m thinking about the game plan, what we can do to attack them, and what they do to present us some challenges. Your mind is constantly thinking about it.

“Every situation is unique, and this is what I came here for. You don’t come to be just a guy. Anybody who plays this position, in this league, they want to be on the field. There’s only one quarterback out there and you want to be that guy. If you don’t have that drive, you really don’t belong. When Chud told me the news yesterday, I was excited. You get anxious, and I think that really shows that you care about it.”

Hoyer has made one start and appeared in 15 games in four NFL seasons. He played in 13 games as a backup to Tom Brady with the New England Patriots from 2009-11, and then, started one game for the Arizona Cardinals after three weeks in the organization last season.

He has completed 57 of 96 attempts for 616 yards and two touchdowns against three interceptions in his pro career.

“I have a handle on this offense, and I can focus on the defense,” Hoyer said. “The plays coming in, they’re plays I know, and I can study the defense more than I did that day (for Arizona).

“Every time you go out, you’re putting your resume on the line. Football is football. Sometimes, you get more advantages. It just depends week-in and week-out. This week, I’ll get a full week of practice. I’ll study Minnesota and that’ll definitely be a big help.”

At this time a year ago, Hoyer had just been waived by the Patriots. It would be three months before he signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Then, after being waived by the Steelers three weeks later, Hoyer was claimed by the Cardinals.

“As athletes, we’re very proud people, and when someone tells you, you can’t do something you know you can do, it’s difficult,” Hoyer said. “You’ve just got to stay tough, stay mentally tough, and keep fighting.

“This business is crazy. Last year, what happened to me was kind of an awkward situation. My agent told me, ‘Look, you might have to wait a few weeks. You might have to wait a few months, but at some point, something’s going to break for you.’ It did. However it led me back to here, this is where I am, and I’m excited to be here. To get this opportunity is something you prepare every day for.”

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