Tom Brady and Brian Hoyer have played a lot of football together: on two separate occasions, Hoyer backed up the greatest quarterback of all time as the New England Patriots’ number two at the position. As such, he spent a combined four-and-a-half seasons with the team and appeared in 24 total games. He also earned a Super Bowl ring with the Patriots at the end of the 2018 season, his tenth in the NFL.
Despite his experience and familiarity with the Patriots and their undisputed starting quarterback, however, the team parted ways with Hoyer during Saturday’s roster cutdowns. Fourth-round rookie Jarrett Stidham had won the job, creating a situation in which New England was willing to expose the veteran passer to the open market — not without leaving open the possibility of a potential return at a later point.
That plan never materialized, though: the Indianapolis Colts signed Hoyer to a three-year, $12 million contract on Monday. In Indianapolis, he will now back up Jacoby Brissett who himself started his career with the Patriots before getting traded to the Colts in 2017. For Tom Brady, who started ahead of both men, seeing Hoyer get released and later join a new team was certainly not an easy development.
“It’s very difficult to see your friends get released. That was really no different. It’s part of what happens in the NFL. I’ll never get used to it”, Brady said during his weekly guest appearance on WEEI’s Greg Hill Show on Tuesday morning when talking about his long-time backup’s departure. “But I know any team that Brian Hoyer is on is a better team for having him. Indy has a great quarterback in having Brian there.”
For Brady, the value of having Hoyer as a backup lies in more than just the familiarity between the two quarterbacks: as he pointed out during the radio interview, the duo is also connected by a friendship that was formed when the Patriots first signed Hoyer as an undrafted rookie free agent in 2009. Since then, the two stayed in touch even as the second-string passer left New England to join other teams (the Colts are his eighth so far).
“When he came back two seasons ago, we picked up right where we left off,” said Brady of Hoyer’s return in 2017. “He added so much to our meeting room. I have so much trust in him, the confidence in the things he saw. He’s also been exposed to a lot of different offenses, so he brought some different knowledge, how people ran different offenses, and so forth. He always provided great insight, great leadership.”
The 42-year-old was also asked about how Hoyer’s free agency departure would impact himself, and whether or not it would ultimately make his own job more difficult. The answer was telling — both when it comes to Brady’s preparation as an individual within the system and Hoyer’s part as his number two: “My job is a difficult job regardless of who is there. I think, again, Brian provided a lot. He’s a great quarterback for our team.”
“He won an offseason award. He just brought a great, positive energy to the team and was always optimistic,” continued Brady. “I think there are times for me that I get frustrated or I get down or disappointed in things that happened and he would try to bring me back to center pretty quickly. I love the relationship I had with him. It will certainly continue on in its own personal way. We just won’t be working together.”