INDIANAPOLIS — Brian Hoyer and Jacoby Brissett were roommates for one weekend in May.
The pair were part of Tom Brady’s annual trip to the Kentucky Derby and were meeting each other for the first time.
They missed each other by just two months with the New England Patriots in 2017. Brissett was traded to Indianapolis just before the start of the season, and Hoyer re-signed in New England after being cut by the San Francisco 49ers in November.
It didn’t take long for the quarterbacks to develop a rapport.
“He’s a special person,” Hoyer said Wednesday at the Indiana Farm Bureau Football Center. “I knew right away, just spending some time with him. He relates to people. He and I had a good time hanging out. He’s funny. He’s a people person. People gravitate towards him. There’s no doubt about that.”
Hoyer texted Brissett on Aug. 24 after news broke of Andrew Luck’s retirement. It was a message of support and a reminder this was the opportunity the 26-year-old had been waiting for.
It never occurred to Hoyer he might be joining his new friend in Indianapolis so soon.
After being cut by New England on Saturday, Hoyer signed with the Colts on Monday and will serve as a veteran sage for the newly minted starting quarterback.
“We got (Hoyer) in the building, and I think it was probably one minute into the discussion I was thinking to myself, ‘Man, this was the right move,’” Indianapolis head coach Frank Reich said. “I mean this guy, he is a seasoned vet now. This guy is super, super smart. He represents what we are all about.
“I always knew Brian was a tough guy, and you know how we really like that around here. The guy is tough physically and mentally. Then I just forgot how smart he is. This guy has been around the block. He has been in different systems. I really think he will be a calming voice and a steady influence on Jacoby.”
Hoyer’s more of a student for the time being.
The 33-year-old has carved a career out of landing in new cities and quickly getting up to speed with the offense. But it’s not an instantaneous process.
There are some similarities with Indianapolis’ offense and some of the sytems Hoyer has run in the past, but he’s relying on Brissett as he gets a handle on the basics.
“I was telling Jacoby, it’s like imagine studying Spanish for four years in college, and then in the last week before finals, they’re like, ‘Alright, here’s French. Good luck,’” Hoyer said.
Once, he’s speaking the same language, Hoyer imagines things will progress quickly.
He has a lot of respect for Reich’s playing career and the offensive scheme that produced big numbers (and wins) with Luck at the controls in 2018.
And he has a good feeling about joining the seventh franchise of his 11-year NFL career.
“It was an opportunity to come to a good organization, good team,” Hoyer said. “Obviously, I had known Jacoby a little bit, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to come here, help him out. It was a tough decision. You never really want to have to move your family, but when this opportunity came up, I didn’t want to pass it up.”
The Colts have verbalized their belief in Brissett for the past two years. On Monday, they put their money where their mouth is, signing the quarterback to a new two-year deal worth $30 million.
Reich said it was indicative of the team’s commitment to its new starter.
“I mean, he is our guy,” Reich said. “I mean, we believe in Jacoby. We talk about trust, toughness and team — we think Jacoby represents all three of those things. We trust Jacoby — everything we’ve seen from Day 1 about the way he handles his business, about the way he performs. He is our guy, and we wanted to make that statement going forward.”
It was a relatively clean slate for the first official practice of the regular season.
Only defensive end Jabaal Sheard (knee) and running back Johnathan Williams (rib) did not participate.
Wide receiver Devin Funchess (back), cornerback Kenny Moore (thumb) and running back Jordan Wilkins (ankle) were limited participants.