May 27, 2022

The three men got together at a park in New York to play lacrosse and share a passion for football.

Chris Hogan retired from the NFL after 10 years. Tom Kennedy is a receiver for the Detroit Lions. One of the most accomplished college lacrosse players ever was with them, trying to make the same transition they did.

The best player in college lacrosse was named the Tewaaraton Award winner after he scored 202 goals at Maryland. He was on a field in Long Island, running routes and getting advice from people who have already done it.

Hogan and Kennedy were both college lacrosse players who went on to play in the National Football League.

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It gives you hope, but you have to take it day by day.

The transition may be more difficult than Kennedy or Hogan. Kennedy played lacrosse and football at Bryant and stayed at the same school. Hogan played multiple positions in the 2010 football season, including receiver, after transferring from Penn State.

He chose lacrosse at Maryland despite being recruited to Navy as a triple-option quarterback. His brothers Jesse and Jake are professional lacrosse players. It is also a football game. Jim was the director of football research for the Houston Texans before he was hired by Bill O'Brien.

Jim was diagnosed with cancer. He passed away in 2019. When Jim was sick, he and Jared talked about a young man playing football after lacrosse. The idea was still there.

As he prepared for his final college lacrosse season in 2020, he began to think about his future as a football player. He visited Long Island University as a potential receiver. He reached out to Tony Annese at Ferris State, explaining why he wanted to play football.

Annese said that he wanted to play college football to honor his dad. It comes down to the film.

Steve Annese's son watched the film of his high school career as a quarterback and said, "You have to see this kid."

Annese recruited a quarterback. Before his final lacrosse season, he committed to Ferris State before seeing the campus. Annese asked if he wanted to go first. Even though the family had to use a map on the internet, they saw enough on film. After playing lacrosse for one more season, he would transition to football.

College sports were shut down after six games. He thought his lacrosse career was over. He was getting ready for football. Ferris State's football season was canceled in the summer. After returning to Florida, he trained for football.

He wasn't done with lacrosse. He was offered a chance to come back. Initially, he was noncommittal. He missed lacrosse.

Jesse Bernhardt, an assistant at Maryland, was surprised that he came back to play lacrosse. I think he was close to closing that chapter.

Jared Benrhardt put together one of the best offensive seasons in collegiate lacrosse history in 2021. Courtesy of Atlanta Falcons

He set school career records for points and goals in the best offensive season in Maryland history. They lost to Virginia in the national championship game.

He studied the spring football film all season. He reached out to Annese after the title game and told him he was ready. Annese told him to take a break before he showed up.

Annese wasn't sure who would play quarterback. By the end of the first quarter of the first game, there were no questions.

Ferris State won the national championship. Injuries limited him to 10 games, but he completed 70.7% of his passes for 1,322 yards, 11 touchdown and 5 interceptions. He ran 159 times for 1,421 yards. He had a reception for 33 yards.

Annese said that his skills were better than anyone she had ever seen.

It caught Falcons coach Arthur Smith's attention. Smith, a lacrosse fan since high school at Georgetown Prep in suburban Washington, D.C., watched lacrosse film with football. He liked how he attacked the crease.

He needs to learn structure. Football and lacrosse have the same set of rules, but lacrosse is free-flowing.

Smith said they will see if it can translate. Maybe the role expands if he can.

It is one of the things Bernhardt took from Hogan and Kennedy. This isn't going to be easy. There is going to be learning.

Hogan gave the most advice. Kennedy told him to be patient because it took him a while to get used to the routes.

Kennedy said that he hadn't done his movements in a long time.

Kennedy and Hogan helped him learn stances and routes.

I appreciate those guys for doing that, and hope I can inspire someone else.