The New England Patriots might have a gem in wide receiver Chris Hogan. Former Buffalo Bills coach turned ESPN analyst Rex Ryan seems to think so, at least.
Ryan discussed Hogan’s performance with the Patriots on Adam Schefter’s podcast this week. If you remember, Hogan was a member of the Bills before the Patriots signed him as a restricted free agent. Hogan went on to catch 38 passes for 680 yards and 4 touchdowns in his debut campaign with New England and might’ve saved the best for last. He caught 17 passes for 332 yards and 2 touchdowns in the playoffs during New England’s Super Bowl run and was the hero in its AFC Championship Game victory.
Now, Hogan could be the favorite to replace Julian Edelman in the slot after Edelman tore the ACL in his right knee during the Patriots’ second preseason game. Ryan admitted he was sick to his stomach when the Patriots, Ryan’s arch-nemesis, signed Hogan away from him.
“No, this one drives me crazy right here,” Ryan told Schefter. “This one drives me crazy because that was the one player I definitely did not want to lose when I was at Buffalo. Not only was he really our best receiver that year, remember, he was third, I think, in the league in yards per reception. He averaged over 17 yards a catch, so that was impressive, but he was also our best special teams player.
“This kid’s a great football player, a great competitor, and a great athlete. You know, obviously, he was a multi-sport athlete in college and you don’t want to lose these guys.”
Ryan has since been fired by the Bills and will begin his new career as a television analyst this weekend for ESPN. Losing Hogan certainly didn’t help Ryan’s efforts last season, as the Bills went 7-8 before firing him before Week 17.