Former NFL and Monmouth University (NJ) Wide Receiver Chris Hogan in PLL Lacrosse Draft
You may have seen it scroll across the bottom of the screen as you were watching sports or caught a headline in the newspaper or while you were scrolling through Twitter.
“Veteran NFL player to give professional lacrosse a shot” or something like that is likely what caught your attention.
That player is Chris Hogan who recently announced his signing with the Premier Lacrosse League while declaring for the PLL Entry Draft on March 25th. The two-time Super Bowl champion has not retired from pro football, however, and is currently a free agent after being placed on injured reserve following five games with the Jets in 2020. Hogan was their second-leading receiver with 14 receptions when he suffered a high ankle sprain which ended his season in October.
The 32-year old is quite familiar to football fans around the Jersey Shore because his 9-year NFL career might not have happened if not for the one season he spent playing football for Monmouth University. Hogan was a standout football and lacrosse player at Ramapo High School but when he came time for college he decided on Penn State and accepted a lacrosse scholarship. He started each of the Nittany Lions’ 13 games as a freshman but was limited to just three games as a sophomore because of a high ankle sprain. In 2009 he led the team with 29 goals and was named first-team All-ECAC while being voted team captain for his senior season in which he scored 15 goals and was a second-team All-CAA selection.
“My roots are in lacrosse,” Hogan said in the PLL’s press release. “I’m excited to fight for a roster spot with the best in the world and hope to support the growth of a game that means a lot to me”
“Everyone knows Chris Hogan is a great athlete. What I am looking forward to seeing is how he matches up with the best in lacrosse,” PLL’s Head of Player Experience Brian Silcott said in the press release. “He was a really strong player for Penn State and is the type of athlete who thrives in the pro game, but it has been a minute since he last played, so I'm sure he is working hard on his stick skills to get ready for training camp in May.”
Hogan graduated from Penn State in May of 2010 but had one year of college eligibility remaining and decided to return to New Jersey and play football for the Hawks. Given his success in the NFL, you may be surprised to learn his statistics were not dazzling over the course of an 11-game season in West Long Branch. He was sixth on the team in receiving with 12 receptions for 147 yards, although he did tie for the team lead with three touchdowns. Hogan also saw action as a defensive back and tied for the team-high with three interceptions while adding 28 tackles.
However, he caught the attention of several NFL teams and despite not being drafted spent time on the practice squads of the 49ers, Giants and Dolphins. It looked like he would make the Dolphins’ roster for the 2012 season but was among their final cuts before spending a short stint on their practice squad before being released. Two months later, he signed with the Bills practice squad and late in the 2012 season he moved up to the active roster.
It was in 2013 that he would start making an impact, playing in all 16 games with 10 receptions. The following year in Buffalo he caught 41 passes for 426 yards and 4 touchdowns and in 2015 posted similar numbers for the Bills. His real break came the following March when he signed a three-year offer sheet with the Patriots, and when the Bills did not match it he was on his way to New England. Over the next three years, he became a trusted target for Tom Brady, catching 107 passes for 1,651 yards and 12 touchdowns to help the Patriots win two more Super Bowl rings.
His last two NFL seasons were cut short by injury, first with Carolina in 2019 and then with the Jets in 2020. Hogan is healthy now and eager to get back lacrosse and do so at the highest level. The 34-year old midfielder will be vying for a spot on one of the PLL’s eight teams. The draft is just three rounds and just 24 players will have their names called. Most of the players in the draft pool are coming from Major League Lacrosse after the two leagues merged in December. Given those circumstances, its seems like a longshot Hogan will be drafted considering his lengthy absence from lacrosse.
The 2021 PLL Entry Draft will take place at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, live on Twitter Spaces.
Chris Hogan from his days at Monmouth and Penn State