The recent PLL/MLL Merger was an easy prediction for Stringers Society to call, but the PLL’s most recent move of having former NFL wide receiver and Penn State lacrosse alum Chris Hogan “sign” with the PLL is a headscratcher we didn’t see coming. Is this just a fever dream from the McMahonian brain of our very own Jackie Moon, Paul Rabil; or is Hogan really putting an honest go into trying to play lacrosse? Either way, until Hogan either signs with one of the eight PLL lacrosse clubs or fails to have his name called on draft night, this is a Schrodinger’s Cat situation of only bad and worse. If we look at the potential situations that could play out, it doesn’t seem like there’s much possibility for anything positive
How the Chris Hogan “Signing” Can Be Bad
Chris Hogan has been a feel-good story for the lacrosse community for several years now. The golden-child of lacrosse making it big on the gridiron, Hogan has been a supporter of lacrosse every step of the way from being an undrafted free agent to rising to Super Bowl stardom. Even repping Penn State lacrosse during his in-game intro video, Chris Hogan is always for the boys and lets everyone know his roots are in lacrosse. That’s why Chris Hogan “signing” with the PLL can be a bad thing, if he doesn’t get his name called on draft night. A failure to be drafted would likely be the last chapter of Hogan’s professional sports career as he was injured last year on the Jets and never returned to action after playing in only 5 games.
The odds of Hogan getting selected are slim to none when you consider there are only 24 picks in the entry draft and over 100 professional LACROSSE players actually competing for those spots. Even being an NFL caliber athlete doesn’t seem like it should be enough for someone who hasn’t played lacrosse in ten years to make the jump to the PLL, and Hogan only seems to have come to this decision within the past few months. Now, lacrosse may be something you never forget to do, like riding your bike, but the PLL is putting out what’s supposedly the “best lacrosse talent on the planet,” and an aging ex-lacrosse player probably doesn’t have the juice to make it in a reduced market. Last year, when there were 13 professional field lacrosse teams, there was a greater chance for lacrosse players to have their name on the back of a professional jersey, but the consolidation of field lacrosse means less room for more talent.
If Hogan doesn’t get any serious looks from any of the clubs, this could just be another “collaboration” the PLL is putting out to try to grab headlines . And at that point, who else might as well declare for the PLL draft? I know that Peter Dante is hoping for a tryout. There are plenty of athletes out there who would be funnier to watch go through an actual PLL level workout, if this is really just a way to get more attention orchestrated by the PLL. Only time, and the number of times Hogan’s name is mentioned during the draft during actual evaluations, will tell if this was a serious move. But Hogan failing to be selected would be the logical outcome considering the PLL is trying to assert itself as a “competitive” league.
How the Chris Hogan “Signing” Can Be Worse
So what if Hogan is actually selected over the dozens of lacrosse players from the MLL and PLL free agent pool? If he is selected, there’s still a chance he doesn’t play or even make a team. There are three drafts this year, and plenty of players will be going around in trades; so quality players are a dime a dozen and actual stick skills may be the difference maker in final levels of cuts for this offense-forward league. Close enough to taste the glory but never making it to the table? Again, it would be a disappointment for Hogan’s final go in professional athletics to be a flame-out in the pre-season of the PLL, but his presence would still do almost no harm. Although, it would be easy for players who were on the cusp of being drafted to think they were passed for a promotional pick to make some headlines instead of being given a chance to compete.
But what if Hogan actually makes it? What if he is drafted and makes it to a full, regulation, regular-season PLL lacrosse game and gets on the field. What’s the pressure on him there? Can he be judged as a player that fairly? Does this discredit the PLL’s level of skill necessary to make it onto a club? And does this give any athlete out there the ability to think they can easily pick up lacrosse and be better than the current players?
Unless he is really showing out, or at-least holding his own as a mid-level player for his club, Hogan would likely be looked at as a massive blunder. The guy who has been training for a completely different sport for more than a decade can’t seamlessly transition into another professional league? I know there’s been Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders, and John Elway, but did Tebow or Jordan really prove anything other than the fact that it isn’t easy to transition or play two professional sports? You have to be an athletic freak, or a true specialist in a craft for one sport, to be able to play two at the professional level. And while Hogan is definitely an impressive athlete, even for NFL standards, can he really run and gun with the PLL players? If he makes any mistakes, it will be massively amplified by the fact that the last time he played lacrosse Tik Tok by Ke$ha was the #1 song in the US. Then every player who didn’t make a club but played in the MLL or PLL last year will definitely feel like they were robbed. Hogan will have to be better than a bench player to justify being selected considering his age and lack of recent lacrosse experience, and that’s just the business of professional athletics. If he’s clearly a fish out there and is around late in the season, you’ll be able to smell the stink through your tv.
Where Will Chris Hogan Go?
Hogan making a team and not panning out would be excusable as a great effort for him, but a sobering loss for his club. But the “dream” of Chris Hogan bringing a Super Bowl mentality to a team in the PLL and wining the championship is a Dinsey-eque movie that the early 2000’s production companies wish they have the wherewithal to write. So, maybe don’t be surprised if Hogan gets snatched up by the Cannons to bring some Patriot pride into the PLL and actually is more of a motivational player-coach, if he makes any type of appearance in the PLL. And the storybook ending of the Cannons coming over with Hogan to dethrone the Whips in a three-peat attempt would absolutely convince me there is some Smackdown vs Raw action going down behind the scenes here.
The most likely outcome is for Hogan to not get drafted and to have guys who have been playing lacrosse recently actually make the teams. And while Hogan had a decorated career as a captain at Penn State playing lacrosse before moving on to football and the NFL, he has probably been away from the game for too long to compete with the rest of the oversaturated pool. I’d hate to be a coach of a PLL club having to decide on players to draft this year, but Hogan would likely be an easy player to leave off for me. I love the drive and the attempt at proving himself against the odds, but the odds may be too great.
Now, if I am wrong, and Chris Hogan goes on to dominate in the PLL and make this article look completely stupid, I’ll eat my words.