BEREA – Brian Hoyer wanted to be Bernie Kosar as a kid and attended the final game in the old Cleveland Browns Stadium.
So practicing in the orange helmet for the first time this week was certainly special.
“Obviously when you’re a kid growing up and you dream about playing professional sports, you dream about playing for your hometown team. It really is … a dream come true,” Hoyer said this afternoon after an organized team activities practice open to the media. “I always grew up wanting to be Bernie Kosar and now to get a chance to play quarterback for the Browns, it’s definitely an exciting time.”
Hoyer signed last week and began practice Tuesday. He’s taking the third-team repetitions and made some nice throws in a two-minute drill today.
Hoyer, 27, grew up in North Olmsted and starred at St. Ignatius High School and Michigan State.
“I didn’t need directions on the first day of work,” he said.
Hoyer spent three years as Tom Brady’s backup in New England, was released after training camp last year, then spent short stints with Pittsburgh and Arizona. The Cardinals tendered him a contract that kept other teams away for most of the offseason, then cut him last week.
The Browns pounced.
“Really I think the Cardinals did right by me by letting me go early enough to get somewhere early where I can get into OTAs, practice, compete and learn,” Hoyer said.
He’s made only one start in his career, but believes he can be successful in that role.
“Definitely, and it’s funny because it was a great opportunity for me to play behind Tom (Brady) and learn, but he’s a guy who never wants to come off the field,” Hoyer said. “It doesn’t matter if we’re up by 40 points, so the seldom times I did get to play I think I took advantage of those and then last year, getting the start against San Francisco with only being there for three weeks and I played pretty good.
“You realize when you get out there and actually get a chance to play that it’s just football. You realize for a guy like me who hadn’t played as much over three years how much you miss being out on the field and no doubt I think I have the capability to be a starting quarterback.”
But Hoyer isn’t getting ahead of himself. He’s behind Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell and has spent less than a week learning coordinator Norv Turner’s offense.
“I’m so far behind these guys,” Hoyer said. “I’m learning from Brandon and Jason and Coach Turner. Obviously there’s a great coaching staff here, so I’ve been asking them a lot of questions and just trying to catch up.
“I’m just thankful for the opportunity to compete for a spot on this team. Wherever that goes, we’ll see. But I’m just trying to take it day by day right now, improve myself and hopefully every day the plays get a little bit easier, the calls get a little bit easier and things like that.”
Weeden said he’ll return to Oklahoma this weekend and lend a hand in the cleanup efforts following the tornado that devastated Moore this week. Weeden is from Edmond, a suburb of Oklahoma City, and his wife is from Moore.
“Very, very fortunate to have no injuries and everybody’s safe. Obviously damage,” Weeden said. “I know it’s tough, there’s so much devastation. But just to do my part, I feel like it’s the right thing to do, especially when it hits close like that with your wife’s family.”
** Running back Trent Richardson (lower-leg strain) and tight end Jordan Cameron (groin strain) didn’t practice. Coach Rob Chudzinski said holding them out is “precautionary” but added Richardson could miss minicamp the first week in June.
** Defensive end Desmond Bryant missed practice on a legal matter, Chudzinski said. Bryant was charged with criminal mischief after an incident in Florida in February.
Billy Winn took his spot with the first-team defense.
** Receiver Jordan Norwood, safety Jamoris Slaughter (Achilles), receiver Perez Ashford and offensive lineman Chris Faulk rode the stationary bikes.