Hogan home with Jets, but driven by desire to prove himself
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Chris Hogan’s latest stop through the AFC East landed him back home in New Jersey.
And, when the veteran wide receiver arrived at the Jets’ training facility earlier this week, he was met by coach Adam Gase — and a blast from the past.
“He called me ‘7-Eleven,’” a smiling Hogan recalled Thursday in a video call. “The myth, the legend from Miami.”
You might remember Hogan becoming a bit of a celebrity on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” in 2012, when he was with the Dolphins. It was then that teammate Reggie Bush bestowed the nickname on Hogan — because he was always open.
Hogan is 32 now and has carved out a nice career since those days of trying to be more than just part of a segment on a TV show. But, he still has the drive that made him a reliable and respected NFL receiver.
“These guys, they might know my name and they might have played against me,” Hogan said. “Whatever they think about me, I still have something to prove to these guys.”
That is something Hogan has been able to do for years, ever since he left the lacrosse fields at Penn State to give football a try at Monmouth.
He was signed by San Francisco as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and spent time with the Giants that season before going to Miami. Hogan went to Buffalo a few months into the 2012 season and played four seasons with the Bills. He headed to New England next, and helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls in his three years playing with Tom Brady’s bunch.
Hogan signed last year with Carolina, but needed arthroscopic surgery on his left knee midway through the season. He finished with just eight catches for 67 yards in seven games.
“I was angry, I was frustrated about it,” Hogan said. “For me personally, this year was about playing with that chip on my shoulder. That’s something that I’ve always played with, going way back to Miami and going back to Buffalo. Not taking any any single play for granted. Not taking a day for granted. It’s like I found out last year, it can change pretty quickly.
“And, I had a lot of time to reflect on that.”
As free agency came and went, Hogan waited for a call he wasn’t sure would come. The restrictions in place because of the coronavirus pandemic didn’t allow for him to work out for teams, so he had to remain patient.
With the Jets dealing with injuries to their already thin wide receiver group, Hogan found his chance.
The native of Wyckoff, New Jersey — 30 minutes from the team’s facility — agreed to terms on a deal early in the week, went through the COVID-19 testing and was on the field Wednesday catching passes.
“For me to be so close to home with my family, my parents, my friends, I mean, everyone’s excited about it,” Hogan said. “I was excited about it. For now, what I’m most excited about is being with a new team and having this opportunity to go out there and prove myself again.”
On Thursday, Hogan was on the receiving end of a touchdown pass from backup Mike White in team drills.
And, of course, he was wide open.
“He’s been around for a minute and he’s played on some really good teams, played in some big games,” Gase said. “He’s a guy that, from the time he’s come into the league, he hasn’t changed his big chip on his shoulder, always trying to prove people wrong. He’s a quick study.”
Hogan has 202 career receptions for 2,677 yards and 18 touchdowns in his NFL career. That’s not counting the 34 catches for 542 yards and four TDs he has in the postseason — all with the Patriots.
“He made a couple of plays, and just for being here two days, I’m telling you right now, he’s a veteran,” wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson said. “He’s been around before. He’s been in a fire before. And that’s the thing that I like.”
Hogan is doing all he can to make up for lost time, trying to quickly get comfortable in the offense. Gase anticipates that happening because Hogan has familiarity with the type of offense the Jets run. The coach also was involved in plenty of games against him over the years to know exactly what Hogan brings.
Along with that always present nickname.
“This is what I tell people: If they’re still calling me ‘7-Eleven,’ then I’ll still probably have a job,” Hogan said with a smile. “If they stop calling me that, I might not be in the league anymore.”
NOTES: Backup OL Conor McDermott avoided serious injury after hurting a knee in practice Wednesday. Gase said McDermott will be “week to week,” but the Jets anticipate him being able to return for the season. ... CB Brian Poole (dehydration), WR Denzel Mims (hamstring), OL Cameron Clark (shoulder), CB Pierre Desir (hamstring), DL Bronson Kaufusi (hamstring), LB James Burgess (lower back) and DL Jabari Zuniga (quadriceps) all remained out. ... S Matthias Farley (hamstring) and DL Jordan Willis (knee) left practice with injuries.
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