FOXBOROUGH — Brian Hoyer was just being a dad when he found out he was no longer in the future plans of the 49ers.
Immediately the quarterback’s thoughts turned to the Patriots.
Hoyer was shopping for a Halloween costume for his son Oct. 30 when he got a call from San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan informing him the team had struck a deal for Jimmy Garoppolo.
The 32-year-old Hoyer was cut a few hours later and thus began his journey back to New England where he started his career as an undrafted free agent in 2009. Though there were other opportunities out there — Green Bay reportedly sought his services as well — the pull of the Patriots was too great.
“Obviously, there’s always options that you look through,’’ Hoyer said Monday. “But to me, an opportunity to come back and be with this organization, I didn’t really want to pass it up. And also, when you’ve moved around a lot, to move back to somewhere where you’ve lived before, especially for my wife and kids, there was a familiarity there, and I think that had a lot to do with it, too.’’
Hoyer had stops in Pittsburgh, Arizona, Cleveland, Houston, Chicago, and San Francisco since being among the Patriots final cuts in 2012. He held the starting job for the Browns, Texans, Bears, and 49ers.
After a bit of a whirlwind — Hoyer estimated he’s taken five cross-country flights since the 49ers game in Philadelphia Oct. 29 — the quarterback is happy to have landed in a spot where he doesn’t have to start from scratch to get up to speed with things.
“To be back in [that locker room], it’s kind of like walking into a time machine,’’ he said. “Not much has changed. Obviously, every year, there’s change in the NFL, some new faces. But it’s kind of cool to see some of the guys that I came in with are now the veteran leaders of this team. We’re the old guys.’’
Hoyer said one particular old guy, 40-year-old Tom Brady, has always kept tabs on his former and now current backup, saying the future Hall of Famer consistently was among the first to call to offer congratulations in good times and encouragement during rough patches.
Hoyer always kept his eyes on Brady’s exploits, too.
“Come around Monday, you watch teams from around the league to try and get some ideas — obviously I’m always watching New England, so I feel I’ve been watching him ever since I left,’’ Hoyer said. “To be honest, he hasn’t changed much. It’s great to be back with him and to be in a meeting room with him and just hear him talk football. It’s amazing.’’
Because he’s played a ton of football since he left in 2012 (42 games, 37 starts), Hoyer believes he has a lot more to offer during meetings and conversations with Brady.
“A lot of places I’ve been, they do things really well, so to talk to him and talk about things that I’ve done that maybe he’s seen that he liked,’’ said Hoyer. “That’s the great thing about this offense — you can kind of incorporate a lot of different stuff. I’m more than willing to give any type of insight he’s looking for, and I think if anything, like we talked about, when I was here last time, I hadn’t really played. So, to come back with that playing experience, I think he’s seen that, that I’ve had some success over the years and can always be there to give and extra opinion or something.’’
He attributes his ability to thrive in the league to the foundation built during his three seasons in Foxborough.
“I really don’t think I would have lasted this long had I not been in New England to start off with,’’ said Hoyer, who has thrown for nearly 10,000 yards, 48 touchdowns, and 30 interceptions in nine seasons. “From learning from Tom, from learning from Bill [Belichick], the guys on this organization, how to do things the right way, I think allowed me to go on and have the career I’ve had up until this point.’’
Hoyer’s familiarity isn’t just limited to how the Patriot organization is run, he also knows how to run this offense.
“So, I think also having experience in this offense, like I said, playing for [former Patriots offensive coordinator] Billy [O’Brien] in Houston that one year ,’’ he said. “That was something that [made me] feel confident about being able to come back and do that here. I think a large amount of credit goes to me being here the first 3½ years and learning how to do things the right way.’’
Hoyer spent the bye week cramming the playbook on flights and finding a home and a school.
As for the Halloween costume? Hoyer had to call an audible after 5-year-old Garrett originally chose a grim reaper outfit that, according to Hoyer, was not “school appropriate.” They settled on a ninja.