Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer will take on all comers in order to hold on to the starting job.


BEREA, Ohio -- Being a starting quarterback for an NFL team was always the goal for Cleveland Browns signal-caller Brian Hoyer.

But almost as soon as he got the starting job last September, Hoyer suffered a season-ending torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee after only three starts. However, since then, Hoyer has rehabbed his knee in order to be ready for this week's voluntary mini-camp in Berea, and is ready to resume his fight for the starting job.

"I waited so long for that opportunity last year, and I got it," Hoyer said. "My mentality has not changed from when I took over the team last year. Unfortunately, I had to deal with an injury and battle my way back, but until someone tells me otherwise, I'm acting like I'm the starter.

"I've always prepared that way, even when I was in New England and I knew I wasn't going to play. If you can prepare that way, you always are ready to play."

Hoyer said he "felt sorry" for himself for about 30 minutes after the injury came in the first half of a Thursday Night Football win over the Buffalo Bills at FirstEnergy Stadium before realizing his career was not over.

"I felt sorry for myself for a half hour, and then, said, 'if this is the case, you proved what you could do out on the field. Just work back as hard as you can to get back,'" Hoyer said. "I didn't know what was going to transpire the rest of the year, but once I found out that we were going to have a new staff and we were going to have this mini-camp, I really shot for this timetable to be able to participate as much as I could because I knew I'd have to prove myself again.

"It's something I've had to deal with my whole career, whether it was college or in the NFL. I'm more than willing to do it, and competition makes people better."

Competition might be something Hoyer has to deal with again in the near future.

The Browns have 10 picks in next week's NFL Draft, and have been linked to several of the quarterbacks in this class, according to multiple media reports.

"I don't really hear it that much because I don't pay attention," Hoyer said. "It doesn't bother me. People are always going to speculate. I know how I feel about myself. I know how my teammates feel.

"I'm trying to go out and prove it to these new coaches. All I can ask for is a chance, and I think I'll get that. I'm going out there every day, and until someone tells me otherwise, I feel like I'm the starter for this team."

And should Hoyer be asked to mentor a young quarterback, he plans on being himself and going out "on a daily basis and work hard."

"I think the best way to tutor is to play well," Hoyer said. "I didn't always ask a ton of questions. (Patriots quarterback Tom Brady) didn't always tell me what he was thinking, but to be able to sit there and watch someone put the time in, work hard, see how they attack their preparation, I think that's the best way to tutor someone, to show them how to do it the right way.

"First and foremost, my responsibility to this team is to win games. The best way to be a role model or a tutor is to play the best way you can and show a young guy what it takes to win in this league. I was fortunate enough to be behind the best in that aspect. I'll never not answer a question. I know some guys see it as a threat, but you always try to help your entire team because when it comes down to it, you want your team to win."

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