ATLANTA —Chris Hogan couldn’t fathom playing in one Super Bowl let alone three straight. It wasn’t so long ago that he was just trying to make a team.
But Hogan, 30, has been a valuable and productive receiver for the Patriots during this three-year run that he hopes culminates Sunday with a second Super Bowl championship against the Rams.
“It’s tough to put that in perspective, playing in back-to-back-to-back Super Bowls,” Hogan said. “I had a couple of seconds last week to think about where I’ve gone and where I’ve been. It’s hard work, man. I put in a lot of hours and a lot of dedication to get to where I am today. I’ve had a lot of opportunities and I’ve been fortunate enough to have those opportunities and I’ve tried to make the most of them.”
Hogan’s story is one of perseverance.
The Northern New Jersey native played lacrosse at Penn State and one year of football at Monmouth. He went undrafted and was cut four times before being picked up by the Bills in 2012. Hogan caught his first NFL pass in 2013 and continued to prove himself, earning a three-year contract from the Patriots. All three years have ended with a Super Bowl appearance.
“You live out of a suitcase, extended stay hotels, lot of Subway sandwiches, cheap meals,” Hogan said about his grind to making it here. “When you have a dream and you believe in yourself and you have people believe in you, you just do whatever it takes to try to achieve that.
“Getting cut four separate times really never stopped me.”
One of those people in his corner is his wife, Ashley, a doctor and Long Island native whom Hogan met at Penn State. Although he lives in New England from midsummer until midwinter, Hogan considers Huntington home.
The couple lives in Huntington with their almost 2-year-old twins. Hogan tries to go home as much as possible.
When the Patriots have a day off, Hogan makes the drive to Huntington. It’s usually Monday night, so he can spend Tuesday with his family, before returning Tuesday night to be at practice Wednesday.
“A lot of time spent on 95,” Hogan said. “It’s about a 3-hour drive. I try to spend as much time as I can with them. She works throughout the week. So anytime I get a chance to go back and see them, I get the opportunity.
“She sacrifices a lot, too. She drives up every single weekend when I have home games. She comes to away games, too. She puts in so much time, so I owe it to her and my family to try and put in the time, too.”
Hogan will be a free agent after the season, and should have plenty of suitors. The Jets have money and a need for help and depth at receiver. Plus it would bring Hogan closer to home.
But Hogan has great chemistry with quarterback Tom Brady and fits the Patriots’ mold of being unselfish, working hard and doing whatever he can to help the team.
Hogan had nine catches for 180 yards and two touchdowns in the AFC Championship Game against the Steelers two years ago. He had six receptions for 128 yards and a touchdown in last year’s Super Bowl loss to the Eagles. In this year’s AFC title game in Kansas City, Hogan had five catches for 45 yards, including a huge one-handed grab on third-and-8 to keep what ended up being a fourth-quarter scoring drive alive.
“It’s an unbelievable opportunity,” Hogan said. “There definitely will be a time in the offseason where you reflect on your year or the last couple of years, just how lucky and how fortunate I am to play for such a great organization and play with such great players and to be able to go to three straight Super Bowls.
“I’m just trying to take it all in, take advantage and make the most of all my opportunities.”