RENTON – Seattle Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill’s career in Seattle is at a crossroads.
The team continues to keep the 27-year-old linebacker away from the Seahawks’ organized team activities while Hill navigates his way through legal troubles.
Hill had his second run-in with the law in just over a year in April, just 10 days after he received a sentence of 12 months probation for misdemeanor drug possession for a Jan. 24, 2009 incident in which he was found asleep at the wheel by police in suburban Atlanta with marijuana in his car.
Hill was arrested for an alleged domestic disturbance on April 10 at his Issaquah home, and has a pretrial hearing Wednesday.
He likely will be subject to testing and possible discipline in the NFL’s confidential substance abuse program.
And he also could be facing a possible parole-violation charge in Georgia.
Brian Fortner, solicitor-general for Douglas County, Ga., told the Associated Press on Monday that it was “shocking and disappointing” that Hill found himself in legal trouble again.
Fortner said his office will talk with the prosecutor in Issaquah to find out if the court here will pursue domestic abuse charges. Fortner then will decide whether to file a motion to revoke Hill’s probation.
Meanwhile, Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said he is waiting for the league to weigh in on Hill’s legal issues.
“We’ll just have to wait it out,” Carroll said. “They were not able to tell us when that’s going to come so we will just have to wait and see what happens.”
Asked point-blank if Hill will be on the team’s roster when the season begins in September, Carroll has this to say: “I am hoping. He is part of our team. I am hoping he will be. We need to see what that all means, but we’ll figure it out when the time comes.”
The Seahawks may be willing to turn the page on Hill for several reasons.
Hill likely will face at least a one-game suspension from the league for his actions the past year.
And Seattle has quality depth at linebacker.
Third-year pro David Hawthorne played well subbing for injured middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, starting 11 games and leading the team in tackles with 117, finishing second on the team in sacks with four and tying for the team lead in interceptions with three. Hawthorne is currently filling Hill’s position of weak-side linebacker with the first unit.
Further, Hill has struggled on the field. He’s missed nine games over the past two seasons and only has two sacks over that period.
Finally, the Seahawks could rid themselves of Hill’s unwieldy contract. He signed a six year, $38 million deal heading into the 2009 season. But Hill’s deal provides Seattle with the ability to get out of the accord after two seasons. And with the absence of the salary cap this year, Seattle could cut Hill without suffering the financial hit on the team’s salary cap.
However, according to reports Hill’s salary of $6 million is guaranteed by the team. Hill also reportedly has a provision in the contract that allows him to keep the guaranteed money if he is suspended for the incident in Georgia.
According to Hill’s probation, he is required to serve 30 hours of community service, attend drug and alcohol counseling classes over the next four months and be available for random drug and alcohol screening.
Fortner said he was disappointed to see Hill back in trouble so soon after his sentence.
“You’d think somebody who had just received a reasonable probation term would be guarded in his actions,” Fortner told the Associated Press. “These are people who are in good position to make something constructive out of the situation. But you can’t do it for them. Very disappointing.”
Rookie safety Earl Thomas was not at the Seahawks’ practice Monday and has to wait to join the team until after final exams at Texas are complete later this week. … Wide receiver Deion Branch, who recently had minor knee surgery, did not practice. Linebacker Will Herring also missed practice and is tending to a family matter, according to Carroll. And running back LenDale White also was not in attendance. Carroll said he was in Tennessee handling a matter related to the flooding there, but he should be with the team this week. … Seattle released tight end Jason Pociask, who had joined the team’s practice squad at the end of the 2009 season. A fifth-round pick by the New York Jets in the 2006, the Wisconsin product also spent time with New England, Tampa Bay, Indianapolis and Carolina. The Seahawks are left with six tight ends: John Carlson, Chris Baker, Cameron Morrah, Anthony McCoy, Patrick Devenny and Jameson Konz. … Branch will host a benefit flag football tournament May 29-30 at Qwest Field. Fee per team is $475 and will benefit his foundation to search for a cure for meningitis, which left his son partially paralyzed after he contracted it as an infant. For information visit branch83football.com.