Patriots notebook

Patriots’ Brian Hoyer excited to return to team

File/Jim Davis/Globe Staff
Restricted free agent Brian Hoyer signed his tender, so he’ll be the top backup next year to Tom Brady (12) for coach Bill Belichick’s Patriots. Hoyer will be an unrestricted free agent in 2013.

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. - Backup quarterback Brian Hoyer is happy to be staying with the Patriots for another season, which will be his fourth since the team signed him as an undrafted rookie out of Michigan State in 2009.

The Patriots’ only restricted free agent this season, Hoyer was tendered at the second-round level, meaning had another club signed him to an offer sheet that New England declined to match, the new team would have had to send a second-round pick in this month’s draft in exchange for Hoyer.

With so many teams in need of a good starter at quarterback, it was assumed there would be interest in Hoyer. However, there was only tepid interest in the Ohio native, and New England was unwilling to part with Hoyer for a low-round draft pick.


Even though he got just 12 snaps and one pass attempt in relief of Tom Brady last season, word is the Patriots are very pleased with his development and believe Hoyer could be a starter.

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Unlike other years, when at least a couple of restricted free agents wound up changing clubs, not a single one of the 42 such players around the NFL have gotten an offer sheet from a team.

So Hoyer signed his tender more than two weeks ago and will remain as Brady’s top backup for another year; he will be an unrestricted free agent in 2013.

“It’s exciting to be back and it’s behind me now and I’m back at the facility working out and getting ready to start back up officially [in the offseason program] next week,’’ Hoyer said. “I’m just excited to get back to work.’’

He said he didn’t worry too much about whether another team would come calling.


“I let my agent handle that, and I waited for him to tell me what was going on, and he said, ‘Go sign the tender.’ And I went and signed it,’’ Hoyer said. “It was good for me because I wanted to get back in the facility and start working out anyway.’’

Asked about the new receivers the Patriots signed, Hoyer noted that he played high school football with Anthony Gonzalez, whom he saw at Gillette Stadium Monday. Gonzalez was a year ahead of Hoyer at Cleveland’s St. Ignatius High.

Although new teammates are standard, Hoyer does have one major life change coming: his wife is pregnant with their first child and is due any day.

Hoyer and former Patriots offensive lineman Joe Andruzzi were at Veterans Memorial School to read to the students and stress the importance of literacy and working hard.

Andruzzi revealed he’s in the early stages of writing a biography about his playing days, as well as overcoming adversity. That no doubt includes his triumph over Burkitt’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, and his family’s strong ties to 9/11: his three brothers were all New York City firefighters who responded to the tragedy at the World Trade Center, and their father was a police officer.

Spikes said to fail test


In a story about Urban Meyer’s tenure at the University of Florida that the Sporting News posted online Monday, it was reported that current Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes failed a drug test while at the school. Citing multiple sources, the story said Spikes was one of numerous top Gators players who failed drug tests during Meyer’s tenure. The story also said the drug use was so prevalent that when New England coach Bill Belichick addressed the current Florida team, he told the players, “don’t be like those guys,’’ according to a source.

Shalise Manza Young can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @shalisemyoung.