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Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer explains the story behind his real first name, Axel

Related: Matthew Slater after Mac Jones injury: ‘If we don’t handle it the right way, this thing can spiral away from us’

New England Patriots Practice Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images

When Matthew Slater spoke about the New England Patriots’ new-look quarterback situation earlier this week — starter Mac Jones is expected to miss time with an ankle injury — he used an unfamiliar name to address the team’s backup. Instead of calling Brian Hoyer by his supposed first name, he refereed to him as “Axel.”

Turns out, Hoyer’s full name is Axel Edward Brian Hoyer. On Wednesday, Hoyer was asked the story behind his real first name and he pointed to his father.

“My dad’s name’s Axel. I know I saw Albert Breer thought that maybe it was like Beverly Hills Cop. It’s actually a family name,” Hoyer said. “It’s A-X-E-L. My dad’s from Germany, so I think it’s a pretty common name there. I think my mom gave him the OK, like, ‘We’ll name him Axel but I’m only going to call him Brian.’ That’s all I’ve ever known.

“First and second grade roll call was really rough when the teacher would call out Axel and all the kids would laugh at me, but eventually my parents sent in a note that said, ‘He goes by Brian.’”

Hoyer has been thrust into the spotlight this week with Mac Jones’ status for the upcoming game against the Green Bay Packers uncertain. If Jones is out, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick confirmed earlier on Wednesday that Hoyer will take over as the team’s starter.

It would be Hoyer’s second start in a Patriots uniform after a game in Kansas City during the 2020 season. He filled in for Cam Newton that day, taking over on short notice after the starter himself tested positive for Covid-19.