The Cleveland Browns may have only gotten their 10th choice, approximately based on media reports, for head coach this off-season. Yet by all accounts, so far, Mike Pettine has gotten everything right. That doesn’t seem to be much of a surprise to Brian Hoyer, the current QB on top of the depth chart, after a letter he received last year.
After getting a chance to start for his hometown team in 2013, Hoyer’s season was cut short by injury against the Buffalo Bills. The same Buffalo defense led by Pettine ended Hoyer’s dream season. Pettine showed his class in a letter he wrote to Hoyer, as documented on ESPN:
Buffalo’s defensive coordinator, Mike Pettine, wrote to Hoyer. He said he would never wish to see anyone get hurt the way Hoyer did, especially after Hoyer had gotten a chance to live his dream and start for the franchise he grew up loving. Pettine said that in preparing to face the Browns, he had developed an appreciation for Hoyer as a player, and he said he didn’t think Hoyer was getting the recognition or credit he deserved.
It was compassion on a 3½-by-5-inch card.
“I thought at the time, ‘What a classy move,’” Hoyer said. “And, to me, it really just speaks to the character of the type of guy he is — and not just as a coach. He didn’t have to do that.”
A ton can be gleaned from just those few sentences. We want to highlight the character of Pettine, like Hoyer did, most of all. To take time to hand write a note to an opposing QB that you have no relationship is very personal. To recognize how important starting for the Browns was to Hoyer means Pettine paid especial attention to the damage the injury had.
The second piece that can’t be overlooked is Pettine’s appreciation for Hoyer after watching film. He doesn’t present as a person that would just write something like that to make Hoyer feel better. Instead it helps us understand why Pettine has been so steadfast in his support of Hoyer as the starter since prior to Training Camp. Pettine studied him last year, studied him since he took over the Browns and has watched him throughout camp. If Hoyer is deemed the starter after tonight’s game, Pettine will be making that decision on a ton of information.
The character of the guy making that decision has been universally praised for being straight forward, “Blunt Force Trauma.” Yet it is in a little note from last year that shows that rough exterior covers up a caring side. That is the type of coach players can get behind. A type of coach fans can get behind. A type of coach we hope wins games.
What do you think of Pettine’s letter to Hoyer?