By Chris Emma–
LAKE FOREST, Ill. (CBS) — With his eight-year NFL journey spanning six different teams, quarterback Brian Hoyer would love to stay with the Bears.
He could get that opportunity next season and perhaps even enter Week 1 as the Bears’ starting quarterback. Everything is on the table as the team evaluates its options this offseason, which unofficially began Monday with players clearing out of Halas Hall.
Hoyer is hoping for another opportunity with the Bears, who may be moving on from starter Jay Cutler this offseason.
“For me at this point in my career, any chance I get is something I would cherish,” Hoyer said. “I’m realistic. I know what those opportunities present, but I also believe in myself. So if I do have an opportunity, whether that’s here or somewhere else, I know that I’m capable of being a quarterback in this league.”
The 31-year-old Hoyer stepped in for Cutler earlier this season, playing in six games and making five starts. He completed 67 percent of his passes for 1,445 yards and six touchdowns with no interceptions. Hoyer became the first quarterback in Bears history to throw for at least 300 yards and no interceptions in four straight games.
However, Hoyer and the Bears were 1-3 in that stretch. He suffered a broken arm in an October loss to the Packers at Lambeau Field and was quickly placed on injured reserve. On Monday, Hoyer was medically cleared.
“Injuries are part of the game,” Hoyer said. “Stuff like that is not really preventable. I put a lot of hard work into the rehab. Hoping that things work out, I’d love to stay here.”
Hoyer was placed into a conservative offense, one that prioritized protecting the football and minimized risk. That was the greatest factor in his zero interceptions. At the least, he gave the team a chance to win.
Hoyer, who signed a one-year deal last April, could return in the same capacity or may be back as a candidate to start. The Bears may be moving on without Cutler this season. They hold the No. 3 pick in the draft and could be looking to take a quarterback.
Should Cutler be out of the picture, the Bears may use the reliable Hoyer as their season-opening starter.
Hoyer is looking toward this offseason with great optimism as many possibilities loom.
“There is never enough you can do to get better,” Hoyer said. “All the great quarterbacks are constantly trying to get better. That’s the plan this offseason.”