LeBron James in Last: Sports Figures Who Beat the King back to Ohio

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Jun 12, 2014; Berea, OH, USA; Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer (6) during minicamp at Browns training facility. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Brian Hoyer

The unassuming career understudy out of Michigan State officially made his way back home to Northeast Ohio when he signed a 2-year contract with the Browns on May 14 of last year.  Entering the season as the third QB on the depth chart, Hoyer was able to jump Jason Campbell for the starting nod after a Week 2 thumb injury suffered by Brandon Weeden, and a show-stopping trade of former first-round running back Trent Richardson to the Colts.  Hoyer appeared to be taking the wheel of a sinking ship, but instead went undefeated for the next three games rallying the Browns to an AFC North-leading 3-2 (with 5 TDs and a passer rating of 82.6) before a knee injury in Buffalo would signify midnight for our local Cinderella.

Hoyer’s Browns roots run deeper than his birthplace on the roster. The North Olmsted resident told reporters after signing with the team that he still has memories of crying in Cleveland Municipal Stadium following the Browns’ final game in 1995.  Hoyer would go on to star in baseball and football at St. Ignatius HS, starting two full seasons at quarterback and leading the Wildcats to an 11-2 record his senior season.  Hoyer would earn Associated Press Division I All-State honors as well, representing his state in the Ohio-Pennsylvania Big-33 All-Star Game.  The quarterback also had success on the diamond, pitching St. Iggy’s to a state baseball championship in 2002 behind a 2 earned run, 6 hit performance.

Spending three full seasons with the New England Patriots after college, Hoyer earned the 2nd-string job as a rookie and held a clipboard behind one of the game’s best: Tom Brady.  Hoyer secured his spot one more time during Ryan Mallett’s 2011 rookie season, but by 2012, the organization decided to invest in the former Razorback, leading to an awkward 2012 season with the Steelers and Cardinals (read more details about Hoyer’s NFL journey in FoS co-editor Nick Dudukovich’s July article).

Following the offseason release of Brandon Weeden (enjoy that, Cowboys), Hoyer will enter the preseason as the Browns’ starting quarterback, charged with the daunting task of holding off rookie sensation Johnny Manziel, and the national media posse that follows him like flies around you-know-what.  Hoyer has earned his chance to be at the top of Cleveland’s depth chart, though, and no Browns fan should forget how it felt to be pulled out of the depths of despair for a brief moment while he took the reigns last year.  And this writer believes that if anyone should take this team out of the red, it might as well be someone who has felt the heartbreak as a fan…