FOXBORO -- It was brief, but Brian Hoyer was a free agent for a period of time last week. The Patriots traded Jimmy Garoppolo to San Francisco, and the Niners released Hoyer instead of trading him outright to New England. There were other teams that could have used a quarterback -- the Packers, for instance, were reportedly interested -- but Hoyer had his heart set on New England.
He said it was a "no-brainer" to return to the place where his pro career started.
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"To me, an opportunity to come back and be with this organization, I didn't really want to pass it up," Hoyer said. "And also, when you move around a lot, to move back to somewhere where you've lived before -- especially for my wife and kids and stuff like that -- theres a familiarity there. I think that had part to do with it, too."
Hoyer has played for five teams since the Patriots released him before the start of the 2012 season, but his travel time has been extensive over the course of the last couple of weeks even by his standards. His final game with the Niners was in Philadelphia so, after being in the East, he flew back to San Francisco before finding out he was traded. He arrived in Foxboro on Wednesday, then flew back to the Bay Area during the bye week to get some things in order. Now he's back.
Five cross-country flights in nine days . . . and all the while he's trying to get caught up on the basics of an offense that he's familiar with but still needs to brush up on. Assistant quarterbacks coach Jerry Schuplinski has been instrumental in helping him get prepared for this week's game with the Broncos, Hoyer explained.
Having an understanding of how the locker room operates, and what it's like in a meeting run by Bill Belichick, has helped.
"To go back into that team meeting and listen to Bill, it was almost like a flashback," Hoyer said. "It was like a dream. It's great to be back, and to come back somewhere where you've been."
Hoyer added: "It's kind of cool to see some of the guys that I came in with are now some of the veteran leaders on this team. We're the old guys . . . If it had to happen, to be able to come back into a place where you started out, and you know a lot of people, and you can walk in Day 1 and you have a pretty good grasp of the base offense and see some familiar faces, it was definitely exciting."
As for what's changed, if anything, with Tom Brady, Hoyer smiled and said, "Just looks a little older, I think."
He then credited Brady, Belichick and the Patriots system for helping him carve out a career that's lasted since he signed with the Patriots as an undrafted rookie out of Michigan State in 2009.
"I really don't think I would've lasted this long had I not been in New England to start off with," he said. "From learning from Tom, from learning from Bill . . . I think that allowed me to have the career I've had to this point."
And now it'll continue in the place it began.