Draft Day Disappointment Just Part of Hoyer’s Journey

25 Apr 2024
5 min read
Author – Ryan Miller

Ryan Miller is OMP’s Head of Content and an award-winning journalist and photographer.

It’s Draft Day 2009 and Brian Hoyer is sitting on his parent’s couch, surrounded by family and friends.

For Hoyer, Michigan State’s starting QB, this is going to be a great day. There’s even a camera waiting to capture the moment his name is called.

The first round comes and goes. As does the second. Then the third.

This is all as expected. Then comes the fourth and this is where Hoyer leans forward, phone in hand waiting for a call that would never come.

“Given the conversations I’d had with teams and what my agent had heard, the expectation was I’d probably go no later than the fourth round,” a now 38-year-old Hoyer recalls.

“Those teams that I’d spoken to came up in the fourth round and they drafted somebody else and then the fifth round they drafted somebody else and then the 6th round and they drafted somebody else, my hope started to fade.”

Hoyer during his college days at Michigan State.

By the time the seventh round had come and gone Hoyer still hadn’t had his name called.

By the end of the draft Hoyer had no team and an uncertain future.

“At the time I was crushed. I felt rejected and that maybe I had watched a career in football slip away,” he said.

“In hindsight, had I gone to some one of these teams that told me they were going to draft me, my career might have lasted a year, two years tops and their coaches all ended up getting fired within a few years of when I got drafted.”

As is the case with many undrafted players, opportunities to either train with a team or be signed by a team following the draft can present themselves.

While the calls hadn’t come on draft day, they came shortly after.

For Hoyer his mindset changed, and the roles had reversed. He now had the chance to pick his team.

One of those opportunities was with the New England Patriots.

“I wasn’t sure how they would be the best fit for me, I was going to be the fourth string quarterback,” Hoyer said.

“They had Tom Brady in his ninth season who’d already won three Super Bowls and is the best quarter back in the league.

“My agent helped me realize that worst case scenario, I’d go there, learn from Tom Brady for a year, and you take that with you and try to extend your career elsewhere.”

Within a matter of hours Hoyer went from the disappointment of going undrafted to shipping up to Boston.

Hoyer (right) with Tom Brady (left) during his first season at the Patriots.

Hoyer sees it as the best decision he made.

“What I learned during those four years at the beginning of my career, being around Tom, being at a great organization and learning from some great coaches, allowed me to extend my career,” he said.

“I know now that if I had gone to one of the other teams as the backup quarterback, I could have been forced into playing at an earlier stage, before I had the chance to find my feet, watch and learn, and I could have failed.”

The most poignant lesson that he learned was from in some word directly from Brady who famously was taken with pick 199 of the 2000 NFL Draft.

“He once said to me: “It doesn’t matter how you start, it only matters how you finish”,” Hoyer said.

“Those are words to live by.”



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