Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill is in shape and happy to get back to work.
That much we know after talking to the 27-year-old after his first day back with the team in two months. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll had asked Hill to stay away from the team’s headquarters to take care of his legal situation after an incident on April 10th in which Hill was involved in an alleged domestic dispute.
But after Hill met with the league and the Seahawks received a clearer understanding of Hill’s situation according to Carroll, Hill was asked to return to the team this week.
“We’re comfortable with what we know right now,” Carroll said. “There’s still stuff coming, and he has a couple dates upcoming and he’s going to continue to work on his issues there, and that situation.”
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So will Hill be with Seattle when the regular season opens at home against San Francisco on Sept. 12?
“That’s what we’re expecting,” Carroll said. “We’re bringing him back here to join up and get going and get back in the fold with us.”
Hill said he met with league commissioner Roger Goodell a few weeks ago in a Q & A session.
“It was informative,” Hill said. “It was a good meeting. I felt like everything went well.”
The incident in Issaquah was Hill’s second run-in with the law in just over a year. The April incident occurred just 10 days after Hill was sentenced to 12 months probation for misdemeanor drug possession stemming from a Jan. 24, 2009, incident in which police found him asleep in his vehicle at an intersection in suburban Atlanta. There was marijuana in the car.
Hill still faces a possible suspension from the league because of the incident in Georgia. Asked if he’s under the impression he will be facing a suspension, Hill had this to say:
“That’s out of my hands. I’ll leave that up to the commissioner and the NFL.”
Hill said what it will take for him to get back on the field is still to be determined by the league.
Hill said the two months he was away from the team he took to reflect on his situation.
“I missed football,” he said. “And I realized that I love football. And not being able to play, it sort of hurts. So I just rededicated myself to playing football and being the best person I can be.”
And he’s been working out as well.
“I’m in great shape,” laughed Hill. “Y’all thought I was at home sitting down? I’ve been training.”
On the field, Hill looked like he stayed true to his word. He shadowed fellow linebacker Lofa Tatupu most of the practice, as he tried to pick up the intricacies of the new defense. But he also got his share of reps in 7-on-7 and team drills, and still to be the explosive player the Seahawks signed to a six-year, $38 million deal last offseason.
“It was like being a rookie again,” Hill said. “And I’m treating myself like a rookie. I’m going to come early and stay late so I can pick everything up.”
Defensive coordinator Gus Bradley said similar to veteran safety Lawyer Milloy joining the team late last season, Hill’s years in the league will help ease the transition into the new scheme.
“He comes in and yeah it’s a little different, but he understands the base concepts,” Bradley said. “And it’s just the verbiage and things like that. And he did a nice job of picking up on it today.”
Asked if he thought if he would be a part of the Seahawks moving forward a month ago, Hill said he was focused on the present.
“I really wasn’t thinking about it to tell you the truth,” Hill said. “I was dealing with a lot of legal stuff. And the football stuff is sort of behind me. … Not really behind me, but secondary. So now that I’m back on the field, all I can do is make the best of being here. I can’t look behind me, and I really can’t look ahead. All I can do is go day-to-day and try to be the best player I can be.”