Two-Time Super Bowl Champ Chris Hogan On Transition From NFL To PLL

Most people know Chris Hogan, the football player. A two-time Super Bowl champion with the New England Patriots, Hogan was a productive receiver for nine NFL seasons, racking up 2,795 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns. Ravens fans may remember his 79-yard touchdown against Baltimore in Week 14 of the 2016 season.

But Hogan is ready to reintroduce Chris Hogan, the lacrosse player, for the first time in more than 10 years as he transitions to the Premier Lacrosse League.

“I’m devoting a lot of time and effort into picking the sport back up and going out there and putting the best version of Chris Hogan, the lacrosse player, on the field,” Hogan said on Glenn Clark Radio March 5.

Hogan, 33, officially signed with the Premier Lacrosse League Feb 13 and is eligible for this month’s entry draft, possibly marking an end to his professional football career. Hogan played lacrosse at Penn State from 2007-2010, then transferred to Monmouth to play football in the fall of 2010 before playing in the NFL.

Hogan, who was the New Jersey Midfielder of the Year and an Under Armour All-American in 2006, hopes his four years playing lacrosse at Penn State will help ease his transition to the professional ranks.

“It’s been a long time, but I’m working very hard at this to make sure that I go out there and it doesn’t look like I haven’t played lacrosse in 10 years,” Hogan said.

The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Hogan played in every game for the Nittany Lions for 2007-2010 with the exception of his sophomore season (high ankle sprain). Hogan scored 57 goals and 14 assists during his collegiate career, including a team-high 29 goals during his junior season. He earned first-team All-ECAC Lacrosse League honors as a junior.

But Hogan eventually put all that aside to pursue football because there weren’t great opportunities for him to play lacrosse at the next level.

“You know, when I was in college, there really wasn’t much in the professional world of lacrosse,” Hogan said. “The MLL was around and it wasn’t something that guys, they didn’t seek to play in that. … It wasn’t really at the forefront of guys’ minds.”

In 2010, the only outdoor professional lacrosse league was Major League Lacrosse (MLL), which recently merged with the Premier Lacrosse League. The MLL was a six-team league in which attendance was low, games were not televised nationally and the average salary of a rookie (in recent years) was $7,000 — not very appealing to someone looking to make a living playing lacrosse.

Due to the lack of opportunities, Hogan chose to transfer to Monmouth and pursue football –which ended up working out just fine. Now, the PLL is offering an average of $35,000 to its players. Had that option been available a decade ago, Hogan says it might have swayed him to choose a different path.

“I think if the PLL was around when I was playing,” Hogan said, “I don’t know if I would’ve played football.”

The PLL, co-founded by Johns Hopkins great Paul Rabil, offers an upgraded version of a professional lacrosse league with a national television deal and a unique league structure. The league has eight teams, none of which are tied to a specific market. The whole league travels to different cities each weekend to play against each other during the season.

The cutting-edge format and the promise of the PLL caught Hogan’s eye during his football playing days, so much so that Hogan invested in the company in 2018.

“I had an opportunity to invest in something that I really did believe in with Paul and his team and everything that they’ve created, the platform that they’ve created, changing the game the way that they have and putting the level of competition together every single week for people to watch on TV,” Hogan said. “I thought it was just such an awesome opportunity for me.”

The PLL entry draft — for players from the recently-merged MLL and first-time pros like Hogan — is set for March 25. The college draft is set for April 6.

For more from Hogan, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Eric J. Adler/Courtesy of the New England Patriots