COMMENTARY | Less than five months ago, Cleveland Browns quarterback Brian Hoyer was the toast of Northeast Ohio.
Prior to a nationally-televised Thursday night game against the Buffalo Bills on October 3, Hoyer had almost single-handedly revived the fortunes of a Cleveland team that had been raked over the coals for trading running back Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts on September 18. Accusations of the Browns tanking the 2013 season after just two games ran rampant after the deal -- then Hoyer stepped onto the field.
Hoyer led the Browns to consecutive victories over the Minnesota Vikings and Cincinnati Bengals, as Cleveland played some of its best football in recent memory. Unfortunately, though, Hoyer suffered a torn ACL in what ended up being an eventual win for the Browns over Buffalo on that fateful October night.
One wonders if that was the last time we will see Hoyer start a game in Cleveland.
The reality is that Hoyer was a darling of then-Browns general manager Mike Lombardi. Lombardi is one to never hide his adulation for the New England Patriots and their coach Bill Belichick, so bringing in Hoyer was an unsurprising move, seeing as how he backed up Patriots signal-caller Tom Brady for a number of years earlier in his career.
Even with the backing of Lombardi, Hoyer still had a hard time early in his tenure with the Browns. At the start of the 2013 regular season, Hoyer was buried behind both Brandon Weeden and Jason Campbell on the depth chart. Only through an injury to Weeden and a lack of faith in Campbell did Hoyer receive the opportunity to start in Cleveland last fall.
Lombardi is gone now, part of a front office restructuring undertaken by Browns owner Jimmy Haslam on February 11, so Hoyer may have lost his biggest supporter within the organization. He is also facing a difficult task in trying to rehab one of the worst injuries any professional athlete could possibly suffer, but Hoyer's worries don't end there.
That's because multiple reports have linked the Browns with Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel, and that could be the biggest stumbling block for Hoyer going forward. Even if he does get a chance to lead Cleveland's offense in 2014, the thought of keeping the seat warm, so to speak, for Manziel is probably not what Hoyer had envisioned after playing so well in 2013.
If the Browns do end up acquiring Manziel, they might be best served in letting Hoyer go, and avoiding a situation that could turn ugly down the road.
Shaun Heidrick is a Yahoo Contributor who has followed the Cleveland Browns for over 25 years.
- Sports & Recreation
- American Football
- Cleveland Browns
- the Browns