January 23, 2017

UNUSUAL PATH, TYPICAL PAT:

Chris Hogan is another Pats rags-to-riches story. (Kenneth Arthur|Jan. 23rd, 2017, Sports on Earth)

Hogan declined the option to play football at schools like UConn and Rutgers, instead going to Penn State -- which would seem like a really obvious choice, if it weren't for the fact that he didn't play football at Penn State. He played lacrosse. Said Hogan back in 2011 on why he chose the sport: "I had more influences on me playing lacrosse than I did have people telling me to play football ... If I could go back four years, I would have absolutely played football."

Still, Hogan was an exceptional lacrosse player, a senior captain, and when his time ran out, he still had one year of NCAA eligibility remaining. He opted to use it to play football at Monmouth, mostly doing what he does best: being a freak athlete. He had three touchdowns on offense (on only 12 catches) and three interceptions on defense. Not much could get him recognized by NFL scouts, especially since he wasn't invited to the combine. Not much other than a 4.47 in the forty-yard dash and 28 reps on the bench at Fordham's pro day. Yes, he had to go to another school just to get a pro day.

Now Hogan was a becoming a bit of a legend, getting workouts with various teams, being "that guy from that small school that intrigues everyone" during the 2011 NFL Draft. Nobody selected Hogan that year due to his almost complete lack of experience beyond high school, but he signed as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco 49ers.

New Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh didn't see enough in Hogan to keep him around, as he was limited with an ankle injury, and he was released during final cuts. He was picked up by the New York Giants, but cut 11 days later. He was available for the next three months, finally signing with the Miami Dolphins practice squad in late December and then a futures contract in January. During the 2012 "Hard Knocks" series on HBO, Hogan became a featured personality, mostly because of a catchy nickname given to him by Dolphins teammate Reggie Bush: "7-Eleven" (because like the convenience store, he's always open).

Hogan wasn't open enough to keep a job, though, as he was released once again, until he signed with the Bills that November. By 2013, he got his first regular-season playing time, catching 10 passes for 83 yards. Then in 2014, three years after entering the league, he was a bona fide NFL receiver, catching 41 passes for 426 yards and four touchdowns with Buffalo. He showed no dropoff in 2015 under new head coach Rex Ryan and offensive coordinator Greg Roman, catching 36 for 450 yards and two touchdowns. None of this should lead you to believe that Hogan was on a path to be a postseason superstar, though.

Which is one of the many reasons why none of us are Bill Belichick.

Posted by at January 23, 2017 5:14 AM

  

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