WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W. Va. -- In a moment that linked two of the quarterbacks who helped Bill Belichick win six Super Bowls, the New England Patriots coach went out of his way to connect Jeff Hostetler with Tom Brady after Tuesday’s practice.
Hostetler, who lives in Morgantown, West Virginia, was visiting the Patriots’ joint practice with the Houston Texans at The Greenbrier resort with his family.
The 56-year-old Hostetler, of course, filled in for the injured Phil Simms late in the 1990 season and helped the New York Giants defeat the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXV. Belichick was the Giants defensive coordinator, and he has since cited Hostetler as a prime example of how players always have to be ready.
Hostetler had visited Patriots training camp in 2008, but otherwise, he hasn’t kept in regular touch with Belichick.
“It’s very sparse, but it was really great getting to see him,” said Hostetler, who had his three sons, two daughters-in-law and four grandchildren with him Tuesday. “He was really gracious, inviting me out on the practice field with him afterwards.”
Part of what made the moment special for Hostetler was that his daughter-in-law Amy has been a longtime fan of Brady and they were able to exchange hellos and take a picture together. It was Hostetler himself who took the picture.
“Tom was awesome as far as coming over and making her feel really at home,” said Hostetler, who then shared his quarterback's view of what stands out to him about Brady: “First of all, his age  and he’s still doing it. So, physically he has to still be able to do it and mentally you have to still be in it, still love it, and still be willing to do all the things everyone doesn’t see. Just the fact he’s been doing it and he’s very consistent, and has had the success he’s had, is impressive. That’s a tough thing to do.”
As for catching up with Belichick, there wasn’t much football talk.
“Most of it nowadays is more, ‘How are you doing? How are you handling it? What are you doing?’ Two of my adult sons work with me and he’s got two sons that are coaching with him. I was asking him about that -- the ups and downs of that. It is extremely rewarding, but it’s also tough to do,” Hostetler relayed. “So it’s more on a personal level. It’s great just to reminisce a little bit with him as far as his family and where’s he’s at.
“I congratulated him. I’ve been following him. I’m awfully happy for him, because that’s hard work. He has a tough job, a tough profession, and to be as successful as he’s been takes a lot of hard work.”
Hostetler, who owns a construction company and runs a charitable foundation with a goal of making it easier for families struggling with traumatic injuries or illness, last played in the NFL in 1998, when he was 37.
After his second year with the Giants, in 1985, Hostetler had moved to Morgantown in the offseason as the family “wanted to have a home base no matter what happened in football.”