It’s been a busy offseason for former Spartan quarterback Brian Hoyer and with training camp just around the corner he is ready to start the next chapter of his career with the Chicago Bears.
Hoyer, 31, will enter his eighth season in the NFL and his first with the Bears after signing a one-year deal this offseason. Despite starting at least one game over the last four seasons, including nine starts last year for the Houston Texans and 13 starts in 2014 for the Cleveland Browns, Hoyer will step into a new role as the backup quarterback to Jay Cutler in Chicago.
Hoyer recently joined Spartan Nation Radio with Hondo S. Carpenter, Sr. to talk about his new role with the Bears and reflect on his former playing days at MSU.
“I’ve started for two different teams for the last two years and played a lot of football so you just learn a lot by being on the field,” Hoyer said when asked how his game has evolved over the years. “Obviously you learn from the good plays, but you also learn from the bad ones too. I think as long as you are constantly learning and striving to get better the longer you are in this league the more seasoned you get, the more you see, the better you can become.
“So you take that and take into my role with the Bears. I will always be ready to play, but also just being a great team player to prepare our defense and give them a great look on scout team to sharing information I see out there on the field with Jay.”
Since graduating from MSU at the end of the 2008 season, Hoyer has bounced from team to team in the NFL. He originally signed as an undrafted free agent with the New England Patriots in 2009. After three seasons of backing up Tom Brady in New England, Hoyer went on to play for the Pittsburgh Steelers (2012), Arizona Cardinals (2012), Cleveland Browns (2013-14) and Houston Texans (2015). Throughout his lengthy career Hoyer has racked up 7,163 passing yards and 38 touchdowns compared to 26 interceptions.
The road to the NFL for Hoyer started during his playing days at MSU where he served as the starting quarterback during head coach Mark Dantonio’s first two seasons on the Spartan sidelines. Dantonio has said Hoyer helped lay the foundation for where the program is now, helping lead the Spartans to the Champs Sports Bowl in 2007 and Capital One Bowl in 2008.
Hoyer said the praise he’s received from Dantonio has been a “real honor” and still remembers the early days of the Dantonio era in East Lansing.
“I remember the day that he was hired,” Hoyer said. “I was excited because he recruited me when he was at the University of Cincinnati so I kind of had some familiarity with him and knew him a little bit so when his name was brought up I was really excited. I wanted to be one of the first guys to welcome him to the building. It was actually Justin Kershaw and myself. We were roommates and we went over, and were waiting for him to get in and say hello and excited to get started.
“So for me being his first starting quarterback there, like you said, get the program in the right direction and build that foundation. We had our up’s and down’s, some great wins and some tough losses, but I think it was more about building a culture. To be a part of that and now to look at these teams. They’re winning Big Ten Championships, going to New Year’s Day Bowl Games, the College Football Playoff. There’s a lot of pride there so I’m happy to say that I was one of the guys who was there when he first got there.”
With Hoyer heading to Chicago to continue his career, he will join fellow former Spartan running back Jeremy Langford in a Bears’ uniform. However, he will be saying goodbye to plenty of other fellow former Spartans that he played with in Houston.
He said it was a lot of fun getting to play with so many former Spartans last season and through his experience with those guys he realized how well MSU prepares players for the NFL.
“At Houston last year at one point I think we had six of us down there and the only one I had played with was Keshawn (Martin) and his true freshman year was my senior year so that really made me feel pretty old,” Hoyer said. “But obviously we all kind of hangout, tell stories. It was a great group of guys in Houston. I’ve spent a lot of time with Jeremy up in Chicago, and the one thing I’ll say about these younger guys that I wasn’t even around when they were there; you can tell that they are ready for the NFL game. Mentally, physically, in my opinion they prepare the right way. That’s a testament to Coach Dantonio and his staff. They are preparing these guys like NFL players.”
Oh, and watching the miracle at the Big House last season was also a plus with so many former Spartan teammates.
“We were all watching the Michigan game last year together in our hotel,” Hoyer said. “I forget where we were, it might have been Miami, but we are all eating dinner and we don’t convert on fourth down so we are all kind of bummed out. Then Michigan gets the ball back and they punt it, and we are running around like kids in the meal room. High fiving each other, chest bumping, it was really cool. I remember seeing Max Bullough; obviously his brother still plays so he was really into it. It was just a really cool thing, especially having so many Spartans on one team.”