Chris Hogan, a 10-year NFL veteran who won two Super Bowls as a wide receiver with the Patriots (2016, 2018), has decided to transition back to lacrosse — his first love.
The backdrop: Hogan starred for Penn State's lacrosse team from 2007-10 before enrolling at Monmouth University to play one season of football. The 33-year-old will be available for selection in the Premier Lacrosse League's Entry Draft on March 25.
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Interview: I spoke with Hogan about returning to lacrosse after such a long hiatus, what kind of player he was in college, and his excitement about joining the PLL.
On the lacrosse/football crossover: "There's a ton of crossover. The hand-eye coordination, the physicalness ... And my position specifically, trying to beat the person in front of you as a receiver is no different than dodging a defender in lacrosse. So I think the transition will be seamless when it comes to the physical part of the game."
On getting into lacrosse shape: "My strength and conditioning training really doesn't change. What I have to alter is my skill training. When I knew this was in the works a few months ago, the first thing I did was buy a new stick and a bucket of balls. The gym I work out at had a little pop up net, which I've pretty much destroyed at this point. ... Once it gets nicer outside, I'll be able to go to the field and really work on stick skills, shooting on the run and all that stuff."
On his style of play: "I think my game will look similar to what it was in college. Just very vertical — play as fast as I can, put the ball on net and see what happens. I didn't like to come off the field in college. I enjoyed playing defense, I enjoyed getting out on fast breaks, y'know, trying to create those 4-on-3 situations."
Photo: Justin Berl/Getty Images
Have you retired from football? "I'm not big on closing doors. Football has been such a big part of my life for the last 10 years, and I don't want to just retire. I don't know what my football future holds, and being a free agent is kind of out of your control. ... Right now, I'm just looking forward to the opportunity to try to play two sports at the professional level with the best athletes in the world."
Would you have made this decision if the PLL didn't exist? "I don't think so. The platform that [PLL co-founder Paul Rabil] and these guys have created to grow the sport — making the game faster, making it more fun to watch, bringing the best talent together ... that's what drew me to play lacrosse again."
Was pro lacrosse on your radar in college? "Nope, I don't think I even gave it a thought. We were more concerned with going to job fairs and building up resumes. That's what we were focused on. ... But the way the PLL is positioning itself in the sports world, I think that's becoming much more of a conversation for top college players."
The bottom line: "My first love in high school was lacrosse and I never stopped being a fan of the sport," says Hogan. "So having an opportunity to join the PLL and help grow the game — I'm really excited about that."
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