NFL players get precious little time off from work during the season. New England Patriots wide receiver Chris Hogan spent a good chunk of his time off driving from Foxboro to Long Island to visit his pregnant fiancée, Ashley.
Hogan shared that story Thursday in a first-person essay for The Players’ Tribune. Here’s an excerpt:
“(Ashley) is currently pregnant with twins — our first children, a boy and a girl. She’s due in April. And while I’m up in New England trying to make the most of the opportunity the Patriots have given me, she’s back on Long Island finishing up her residency at Long Island Jewish Hospital. On off days this season, I would make the three-hour drive from Boston to Long Island to see her and make sure she was doing well. I mean, she’s seven months pregnant right now, and she works as hard as I do, so I want to be there for her in any way I can.
“I guess I just want her to know that no matter what’s going on with me — no matter what happens with football — I’ll always put family first. I’ll always put her first. Even though we’re apart, I’ve wanted to be there for her during her pregnancy. I don’t ever want her to think she’s doing anything alone.
“There were times when I’ve driven down to Long Island and had lunch with her at the hospital, then went back to our house, did some chores to help her out and waited for her to come home from work. Then we’d eat dinner together. And then, only a few hours after I had arrived, I’d be out the door and on the road, hoping I don’t hit any traffic on the Long Island Expressway on my way back to Boston.
“So knowing all we’ve been through together, and how supportive and encouraging she’s been even during the lowest points of my career, I’ll never forget seeing her face after the AFC championship game. I’ll never forget seeing her beaming back at me with a smile on her face and tears in her eyes. I’ll never forget running over to her and kissing her. And I’ll never forget the first thing she said to me:
“’I’m so proud of you.’ “
Hogan is preparing to play in his first Super Bowl, with his Patriots taking on the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday in Super Bowl LI.
Thumbnail photo via Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports Images