[UPDATE by Ed Valentine, 04/22/14 10:21 AM EDT: Ralph Vacchiano of the Daily News is reporting that the Giants are "livid" with Hill and that he likely "done" with the team. As I wrote below, that's no surprise to me.]
There's an old saying, "Three strikes and your out." Well, New York Giants' safety Will Hill has just check-swinged on his third, and the home-plate umpire is appealing to first.
According to multiple reports, Hill has failed his third drug test in as many seasons. The news was first reported by Fox Sports 1's Mike Garafolo.
Giants S Will Hill is facing another suspension for a violation of the NFL's drug policy, sources have told @FOXSports1. He will appeal.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 22, 2014
Drugs and illegal substances have plagued the 24-year-old's career since his college days. While the University of Florida alum flashed his potential, he never truly capitalized on what made him one of the most highly-touted recruits out of St. Peters Prep in 2007.
During his time in Gainesville, Hill fathered four children with three different women, got married, got separated, got divorced and sent out multiple tweets that sent scouts running. He went undrafted in 2011, and was not offered a try out by any other team as an undrafted free agent.
According to a New York Daily News article published in 2012, Hill contemplated leaving the game. Despite his struggles, the Giants gave Hill a chance at redemption. The team brought him in for a tryout on May 14, hoping to see some of the potential that had him labeled the No. 1 safety by ESPN out of high school. Hill made the team, but was suspended for Adderall on Oct. 8 before being re-activated on Nov. 5.
In 2013, Hill was once again hit with a suspension, being docked the first four games of the 2013 season for violating the NFL's policy on substance abuse. Hill has talked publicly about how marijuana helps him cope with the stress of his every-day life.
Hill returned to the team on Sept. 30 and proceeded to display game-breaking potential. He finished the season with 77 combined tackles, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and two interceptions. Versus the Lions, Hill returned an interception 38 yards for a touchdown to tie the game and force overtime.
Exact nature of Hill's alleged violation (PEDs/substance abuse) not yet clear. Suspension could be 6 gms/8 gms/yr, depending on his status.— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 22, 2014
Reports have surfaced that Hill plans to appeal the impending suspension, which could be a year-long. During the offseason, the Giants re-signed Stevie Brown and signed Quintin Demps. Both could help lessen the blow of Hill if he is lost for any significant amount of time.
I felt like I had to weigh in quickly here. I have always said the Giants needed a Plan B if they were going to carry the unreliable Hill. This is why it was critical to re-sign Stevie Brown. Why they added free agent Quintin Demps. Why the talk about cutting Antrel Rolle in a salary cap move was foolish. You also wonder if it puts safety in play at some point in the 2014 NFL Draft. As for Hill, the Giants have been extraordinarily patient with the young man. If he is suspended again it's hard to imagine the Giants not cutting ties with him. No matter how talented he is, and he is immensely talented, you can't keep giving chances to a player you can't depend on.