Written by Kenneth Teape (@teapester725)
After officially being suspended Friday by the NFL after losing his appeal, Will Hill was cut by the Giants Monday. This was Hill’s third suspension in as many seasons with the Giants, and they have finally had enough; three strikes and your out is a phrase that is fitting.
Hill joined the Giants as an UDFA out of Florida in 2012, going undrafted because of off-the-field concerns he had at Florida. Hill was a five-star recruit out of St. Peter’s Prep in Jersey City, New Jersey. He was one of the top rated high school players, starting at quarterback, safety and playing kick and punt returns as well just to show how talented he is.
But Hill just was unable to stay out of trouble even after he left Floriday. Hill was suspended in 2012 for performance enhancing drugs, failing a test because of Adderall. Last season he was suspended for another four games after failing the NFL’s substance abuse policy. This season Hill once again failed the substance abuse policy, and received a six game ban.
When he was able to get on the field for the Giants, he showcased that top-flight talent that made him such a sought after recruit. As a rookie, Hill was a terror on special teams for the Giants, continually making tackles on coverage teams.
With the good showing on special teams, Hill was eventually worked into the safety rotation, even becoming a starter a starter last season and continuing his outstanding play. In 12 games, only 10 of which were starts, Hill recorded 77 combined tackles, 60 of which were solo, forced two fumbles and had two interceptions, one of which he returned for a touchdown that helped the Giants defeat the Detroit Lions last season.
Hill played so well last season despite the suspension that he graded out as the second best safety in the NFL behind Devin McCourty of the New England Patriots according to Pro Football Focus.
While Hill is clearly talented, he also has some problems that he needs help with. The Giants stood behind him as long as they could, but in the end the NFL is a business, and Hill no longer fit into the Giants business plan. The Giants could no longer put their trust, or a roster spot, in a player that could not make a return on the investment.
While the talent is clearly there, it has reached the point where that is not enough to keep him on the roster at the expense of player who will not miss six games right off the bat. Three out of three years Hill has been suspended, a trend that if continued, would result in lengthier and lengthier suspensions.
Not to let it be construed, Hill will be missed by his teammates. He may have gotten in trouble with the league more frequently than they had liked, but he was a player that produced while on the field and was well liked in the locker room. It is too bad he was not able to get his problems straightened out and hopefully he is able to get his life on track and possibly resume his football career with another team.