FOXBORO, Mass. — Chris Hogan’s move to the New England Patriots has been a win-win so far: a chance to play a prominent role on a team with Super Bowl aspirations.
Through three games, Hogan has been on the field for 81.2 percent of New England’s offense snaps, more than any other Patriots wide receiver and fifth-most on the team behind offensive linemen Marcus Cannon, Joe Thuney and David Andrews and tight end Martellus Bennett.
That’s a far cry from the way Hogan’s previous NFL employer, the Buffalo Bills, utilized him. In his three seasons with Buffalo, the 27-year-old played 16.1, 43.5 and 56.9 percent of the team’s offensive snaps as the third wideout behind Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods.
Clearly believing he was capable of more, the Patriots signed Hogan — then a restricted free agent — to a three-year, $12 million contract this past offseason that the Bills declined to match.
“I’m the type of guy that when I came (to New England), I was going to do whatever was asked of me,” Hogan said Friday. “So if it’s play 60 plays, 30 plays, do whatever I need to do to be on the field, that’s what I’m going to do. I’ve been on the field a lot, but I’ve been trying to take advantage of every single second and every play that I’m out there.”
Hogan will face his former team for the first time this Sunday as the Patriots welcome the Bills to Gillette Stadium. He said he is looking forward to catching up with some of his former teammates, but not until after the clock reads triple zeros.
“Those guys are all my friends still, but we’re playing a game now,” Hogan said. “Once that whistle blows, for 60 minutes, I’m going to be playing football. Afterwards, we can talk and do all that, but my focus is on doing my job and taking advantage of my opportunities out there on Sunday.”
Hogan, who was signed and released by three different teams before catching on with the Bills in 2013, was targeted 13 times over his first three games with the Patriots, catching eight passes for 122 yards and one touchdown. He remains indebted to the team that gave him his start.
“I will be forever grateful for (the Bills),” Hogan said. “That organization, they gave me my first chance. That’s really where I started my career. And I was there for four years. I established a lot of relationships with those guys and to this day still do. I will always look back on my career, and that’s where I started.”
Thumbnail photo via Greg M. Cooper/USA TODAY Sports Images