How Chris Hogan became a longshot hero in New England

Chris Hogan was the definition of an NFL longshot when ex-Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush began calling him "7-11'' on HBO's "Hardknocks'' several years ago. Now he's started in two Super Bowls and is one of Tom Brady's most reliable receivers. How'd it happen? Give a listen.

Chris Hogan was cut by three teams in a year and played only one season of college football at tiny Monmouth College before finally finding his way to the Buffalo Bills and finally into the starting lineup of the New England Patriots in back-to-back Super Bowls. How is that possible, you ask?

Talk of Fame Network wondered too so we went to the source and asked Hogan himself this week in the kickoff edition to another NFL season. To Hogan there are many reasons but one trumped all others and it wasn’t his world class speed or finding Tom Brady, although both helped immensely. But something else came before all that.

“My overall belief in my ability to play in the league,’’ Hogan cited as a major contributing factor to becoming a major contributing factor to the Patriots. “I really believed I could do it.’’

Fortunately for Hogan, so did Reggie Bush when the two were briefly together in Miami. HBO was filming “Hardknocks’’ that summer with the Dolphins when Bush labeled the already much traveled rookie “7-11’’ because, Bush said, “Hogan is always open.’’

That didn’t land him a roster spot in Miami but he believes it’s what got him to Buffalo in 2012, where he finally got his chance and made the most of it. The rest his history still being written.

‘’’Hardknocks’’ likes that underdog story to film,’’ Hogan recalled this week. “I had one of my best camps. I had worked my butt off to get noticed. (Bush) put my name on people’s radar. I got a lot of exposure from the show. It really helped my career…it definitely was an underdog story.’’

With Julian Edelman suspended for the first four games of this season and a host of veterans having been released for medical reasons, Brady will open 2018 Sunday against the tough Houston Texans’ defense with Hogan as his best and most experienced wide receiver. Is Hogan feeling the pressure? After all he’s been through, what pressure?

“I’m going to be accountable and available,’’ Hogan said. “The rest will take care of itself.’’

Speaking of taking care of things, TOF also visited with someone who has taken care of business around the NFL so well that she landed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame this summer. That’s NFL Network and HBO Sports’ Andrea Kramer, who was named this year’s recipient of the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television award from the Hall. She didn’t get a gold jacket but she’s in the Hall and deservedly so.

Andrea is a frequent guest here on Talk of Fame Network and this week came by to chat about her career, which really began when she was a little girl in Philadelphia falling in love with pro football. Not everyone might have been nurtured in that circumstance but when Kramer learned that she was headed to Canton her first thoughts were clear.

“I thought of my parents,’’ Kramer said. “They never thought it was weird.’’

Kramer tells our Hall of Fame co-hosts Clark Judge, Rick Gosselin and Ron Borges how she made her way from a kid in Philadelphia who used to prepare a weekly scouting report on Sunday’s game and present it to her parents to one of the most decorated sports journalists in America. To hear it all just go to your local SB Nation Radio Network station or download the free podcast app at iTunes or by using the TuneIn app. You can also hear the show any time on our website,