"Bring him ... Let's go."
That was response from Patriots second-year backup and former undrafted quarterback Brian Hoyer when asked about his team's supposed interest in polarizing draft prospect Tim Tebow. Though not ready to bow down to one of college football's all-time great players if he were to land in New England, Hoyer did express great respect for the Gators star.
"I mean, he's a great player," Hoyer continued. "He's one of the ... he's probably the most well-known football player, at least in my time, if not ever. So, I think he's a great athlete, a great competitor. I actually got a chance to meet him the other day. He was a great guy. Everything you see is what you get with him. It'd be great to compete with him."
Clearly, a year after surprisingly serving as Tom Brady's primary and only backup, Hoyer isn't worried about having to fight for his spot in New England. Tebow may be the star of this year's draft, but nowhere near the star power of the guy Hoyer has been competing with for his first year as a professional.
"For me, as crazy as this may sound to everyone, I wanted to try to compete with Tom," Hoyer said of his spot as New England's No. 2 last fall. "He's, in my opinion, the best quarterback in this league. But the only way that I feel I could get better is to try to compete with the guy that's ahead of me.
"So, I never really laid back and was like, 'Well, there's no one behind me, I'm just going to take it easy,'" Hoyer continued. "I always went out there and tried to be as competitive with him as I could and learn from him. I tried to push myself harder every day."
Aside from his season-long absence after blowing out his left knee on opening day 2008 -- events that led to the eventual success and trade of now-Chiefs signal caller Matt Cassel - Brady has never really needed a backup. Other than l'08, the two-time Super Bowl MVP has never missed a start since taking over for Drew Bledsoe under center in New England in 2001.
But Hoyer is ready. And confident. After completing 19 passes on 27 attempts for 142 yards (no touchdowns, no interceptions) in five games of mop-up duty as a rookie, Hoyer is as ready as ever to compete for his job.
"There is always going to be competition," Hoyer said. "For me, coming in last year, there was a bunch of guys here. I'll never forget when I was getting recruited at Michigan State, I was like 'You have a bunch of quarterbacks here.' One of the coaches was like 'There are always going to be quarterbacks wherever you go. You're going to have to compete.' It kind of struck me then. No matter what you do, you're going to have to compete against someone. If anything, it pushes me to work harder right now in the weight room, in the (practice) bubble running, and throwing and doing the little extra things."
Asked the question that everyone's asking these days -- Can Tebow even be an NFL quarterback? -- Hoyer didn't necessarily have an answer, but hopes we all get to find out.
"Why not? He's been successful in college and this is the next step," he said." He deserves his chance.
"He's probably over-scrutinized. You almost feel bad for [him]," he said. "You just want him to come out here and get his shot and let him do what he does. But everyone wants to have an opinion, whether it's his throwing motion or what position he's going to play. That's really not fair to him. For as successful a quarterback as he was in college football, I feel like he deserves his chance and not to be so scrutinized."
Even if that chance is in New England, competing alongside Hoyer himself for Brady's offensive scraps.
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