Hoyer, hoop & happy faces

Earlier today, Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer teamed with Harlem Globetrotters forward Slick Willie Shaw to try out basketball and football tricks in anticipation of Saturday’s Globetrotters game at TD Garden. Afterwards, the two visited Children’s Hospital Boston to entertain pediatric patients.

Hoyer's appearance, as part of the team's "Celebrate Volunteerism" campaign, provided an opportunity to catch up with him for the first time since he signed his restricted free-agent tender.

"It’s exciting for me, to get that all behind me and get back to work," said Hoyer, who has served as Tom Brady's top backup since joining the club as a rookie free agent in 2009.

"For me, it's a great opportunity to be part of a great organization, from the top down. I respect how Mr. Kraft goes about things and obviously our coaches and our players. So the biggest part now is to get back to work with the guys."

Hoyer has remained in the area this offseason, and has been working out on at the same facility he utilized during last year's lockout. He described his free-agent experience as "dull", which is often the case for restricted free agents (he's scheduled for unrestricted free agency in 2013).

The league-wide NFL offseason has been anything but dull and Hoyer has been closely following all the moves.

"I'm not only a player, but I'm also a fan of the game and the league, so I try to keep track of what's going on," he said, adding that he follows some reporters on Twitter. "I remember as a kid, I'd wait for free agency and then trades, to see where guys were going. It's a fun part of the NFL and you want to see how it plays out."

One nice surprise for Hoyer was being reunited with receiver Anthony Gonzalez, who signed a one-year deal with the Patriots. The two were teammates at St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland.

"I'm excited to throw to someone I've thrown touchdown passes to before," Hoyer said. "What are the odds that two guys who played high school football together end up on same team? It will be fun to work with him and all those guys."

Hoyer also touched on how his fourth season will be different in the sense the offense will be coordinated by Josh McDaniels after three years under the direction of Bill O'Brien. He said he was looking forward to working closer with McDaniels and learning what areas he'll target for his improvement.

As for his work in the community Tuesday, Hoyer won a game of "PIG" against Shaw, then the two shared time with patients at Children's, which included hosting a weekly bingo game.

"They're going through a rough patch in their life and you hope you can give them a smile," Hoyer said of the patients at Children's. "Handing them a signed picture or football, you're hoping to see their faces brighten up a bit."