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Hoyer's work brought him home

Posted May 24, 2013

Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer has returned to Cleveland after four years with the New England Patriots, Pittsburgh Steelers, and Arizona Cardinals.

North Olmsted native Brian Hoyer has returned to Cleveland in order to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing for the Browns.

The former St. Ignatius signal-caller signed a two-year contract with the Browns last week after being released by the Arizona Cardinals.

“When you’re a kid growing up and you dream about playing professional sports, you dream about playing for your hometown team,” Hoyer said. “It really is when you say it’s a dream come true. I always grew up wanting to be Bernie Kosar, and now, to get a chance to play quarterback for the Browns, it’s definitely an exciting time.

“I’ve been (at the Berea facility) before. It was probably when I was in high school, so it’s been a long time, but I didn’t need directions on the first day of work.”

In the week since his signing, Hoyer has focused on learning offensive coordinator Norv Turner’s system from quarterbacks Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell because he feels “so far behind these guys.”

“There’s a great coaching staff here, so I’ve been asking them a lot of questions and just trying to catch up,” Hoyer said. “I’m just thankful for the opportunity to compete for a spot on this team. Wherever that goes, we’ll see. I’m just trying to take it day-by-day right now, and prove myself every day. Hopefully, every day, the plays get a little bit easier, the calls get a little bit easier, and things like that.”

Despite not having a full offseason with the team, Hoyer has “picked things up quickly,” according to Browns coach Rob Chudzinski.

“He’s a guy that has had experience, has been around,” Chudzinski said. “With our situation right now, you don’t have enough reps to split. It’s been split a lot of different ways, so having a guy who has had some experience and knows how to play and has been on NFL teams helps.

“He has a good arm, and a good sense for playing.”

Hoyer is learning his fourth offense in the last 12 months.

The New England Patriots released him at the end of last summer’s training camp, and he was later signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers after they suffered a rash of injuries at quarterback.

Following his release by the Steelers, Hoyer signed and played in two games with the Cardinals. He made one start and completed 30 of 53 attempts for 330 yards and one touchdown against two interceptions.

“I knew getting released that late, it would be tough because who’s going to bring in a quarterback that needs to learn the system and get up to speed?” Hoyer said. “I had a few workouts, so I knew that I was still going to have a chance, and then, Pittsburgh gave me that chance. Things went the way they did from there. It was rough every Sunday. Finally, I got to the point where I couldn’t watch anymore. That next Monday, Pittsburgh called. It was kind of ironic.”

After completing his college eligibility at Michigan State, Hoyer began his professional career as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Patriots, where he spent his first three years in the NFL backing up three-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Tom Brady. It was during that time in New England where Hoyer paid close attention to Brady’s emphasis on having the perfect game plan and physical mechanics.

“For a guy like me, the situation of how I came into the league, I couldn’t ask for a better place to go,” Hoyer said. “In my opinion, he’s the best. I got to sit there with him, day-in and day-out, and just see how he approaches things, how he runs the team, how strict he is on himself and that he holds himself to the highest standards. I’ve seen what it takes to be the best, and I try, every time I go out on the field, to be the same.

“It was a great experience. Playing for that organization, you learn football the right way. I learned so much there, way more there in my first year than I ever learned in my whole football career leading up to that. You definitely learn a lot about football, not just offense, but defense, situational football. I can take that now and Coach Chudzinski’s really emphasized that in team meetings, how important situational football is.”