By John Boyle
Greetings all. I’m back after a quick vacation, a trip that unfortunately ended with me seeing the news that Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill has found himself in trouble again having been arrested in Atlanta for marijuana possession.
Before the start of the season, Hill said his visit with NFL commissioner Roger Goodell in 2010 was a “wakeup call.” At that point he was coming off of a domestic violence arrest, which came right after he had reached a plea deal on a 2009 marijuana charge.
“Obviously I got in trouble, but that’s over with and behind me,” Hill told me before the start of the season. “I don’t plan on getting in trouble ever again. But what I can do on the field, everybody knows that.”
Hill then went out and had a very productive, season finishing fourth on the team in tackles with 89 and second with four sacks. Hill stayed healthy, played well, and most importantly, kept himself out of trouble throughout the year. With Marcus Trufant on injured reserve, Hill was also the longest-tenured Seahawk on the active roster.
And I wanted to believe Hill when he said he was done messing up. He sounded sincere, by all accounts he was a good veteran presence in the locker room and he seemed to really enjoy being the experienced guy helping a young defense grown. And now this. Setting aside for now any debate about marijuana use—according to a Gallup poll last fall, 50 percent of Americans are now in favor of legalizing the drug—it is unfortunate to see someone with so much to lose still taking chances like this with his career.
While an arrest for a small amount of marijuana won’t likely lead to huge legal issues for Hill, this will cost him a lot of money. Already his previous two arrests led to the Seahawks restructuring the $36 million contract he signed in 2009, costing him millions of dollars. He played last year on a one-year contract for the veteran minimum, and will be a free agent starting next month.
At 29, this would have been Hill’s last shot at landing anything resembling a lucrative contract, instead he’ll be looking at another meeting with Goodell, another suspension (he missed one game in 2010 because of the marijuana arrest and fined two game checks later for his domestic violence arrest), and while Hill will get a chance somewhere, no team is likely to make a big investment in him at this point. Hill sounded sincere when he said his troubles were over. On Monday, however, we found out he was not.