(Lloyd Fox / Baltimore Sun )
When the Ravens signed suspended safety Will Hill a week ago, skepticism surrounded his past conduct, not his football skills.
Since his arrival, Hill has been impressive enough that Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees has lamented that the former New York Giants starter is suspended for the first six games for his third violation of NFL drug policies.
"[I wish] he was eligible for the first game," Pees said. "I’ll tell you what: That guy is really a good, good football player. He’s big, he’s fast, smart and been great in the classroom. You talk about a guy coming over from another team catching on.
"Day One, he walked out there and kind of knew what was going on just from sitting in the classroom taking notes and getting back in the playbook and seeing what we have. He’s an impressive guy.”
A former blue-chip recruit for the Florida Gators after a standout high school career at St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J., Hill is a mobile, long-armed safety at 6-foot-1, 207 pounds. He recorded 77 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles last season, but hasn't complied with the NFL rulebook.
Hill's latest suspension stems from testing positive for marijuana. Hill attributed this positive test to inhaling second-hand smoke.
"Just being irresponsible," Hill told The Baltimore Sun about being a three-time violator of NFL drug policies upon joining the Ravens and signing a one-year, $570,000 contract that included no signing bonus or guaranteed money. "Yeah, I feel like I've learned. I'm ready to play football. They talked to the Giants and they had nothing but good words to say about me."
Hill, 24, who has recorded 115 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles in two NFL seasons, was asked if he's done with marijuana, replying: "Everything is behind me."