Brian Hoyer’s chances of starting games for the New England Patriots this season took a significant hit when the team signed former NFL MVP Cam Newton.
But the journeyman quarterback doesn’t regret returning to his first NFL home.
“It was an easy decision for me,” Hoyer, who signed on for a third stint with the Patriots in March after being released by the Indianapolis Colts, said Friday in a video conference.
“For me, my wife and my family, we actually decided to make New England home last fall. We bought a house here last November. We were moving back here, and I planned on kind of commuting if I was still with Indianapolis. When this opportunity came, I was obviously eager to jump at it.”
Hoyer began his NFL career as an undrafted Patriots rookie in 2009. He stayed through the 2012 preseason, then returned in 2017 after New England traded Jimmy Garoppolo. Last summer, New England cut Hoyer after Jarrett Stidham beat him out for the top backup job behind Tom Brady, and he landed in Indy, where he backed up ex-Patriot Jacoby Brissett for one season.
In the intervening years, the 34-year-old spent time in Pittsburgh, Arizona, Cleveland, Houston, Chicago and San Francisco. He’s started 38 games for seven different clubs, though none for the Patriots.
“We just felt like throughout my career, even though it’s been all over the place, (New England) just felt like home,” Hoyer said. “After coming back in ’17, ’18, ‘19, my kids have their friends, my wife has her friends, we all love living here, and it was just a decision where, as my career gets closer to the end, the last thing I want to do is have my career end and have to make a decision one more time where to move.
“So we wanted to put some roots down. We’re happy about that. When I had the opportunity to come back to the Patriots, things just kind of fell in place.”
Though Newton — who signed in July, three-plus months after Hoyer — and Stidham are viewed as the two primary contenders for Brady’s old starting job, Hoyer said he’ll compete as if the job is his to lose. His extensive knowledge of Josh McDaniels’ Patriots offense will benefit him in this truncated training camp with no preseason games.
The Patriots also have undrafted rookie Brian Lewerke on their 80-man roster.
“For me, you’re still competing every day you go out,” Hoyer said. “Regardless of what the spot is, it’s always a competition. Bill (Belichick) said that numerous times, you’re going to earn what you get. For me, it doesn’t matter if there’s 15 guys in the room. I’m always competing.
“When Tom was here, I was always competing for the starting job, too. Now, I was probably never going to get that, but I always competed like I was going to try to beat him out. That was the only thing I could do to try and make myself better.”