By John Boyle Herald Writer
RENTON — By his own admission, Leroy Hill thought it was strange that he was one of the Seahawks’ longest-tenured players last season.
Well, imagine his surprise now.
Hill, who has been a free agent three times in the past four years and battled legal troubles and injuries along the way, will be back with the only team he has known in his NFL career. He has agreed to terms on a one-year deal with Seattle.
The Seahawks also announced that they reached a one-year deal with linebacker Matt McCoy.
Hill had one of the best seasons of his career in 2011, starting all 16 games while collecting 89 tackles and four sacks. But that came after a 2010 season in which he served a one-game suspension, played in one game, then missed the rest of the year with torn Achilles tendon. While he was recovering from that injury, he made a visit to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, the result of a domestic violence arrest that came just over a year after he had been arrested for marijuana possession.
Hill went into the 2011 offseason a free agent because Seattle had restructured his contract prior to the 2010 season. With the Seahawks overhauling their roster and getting younger, it figured that they would move on without Hill last year, but he ended up coming back on a one-year deal. Last season, Hill and cornerback Marcus Trufant were the only players from Seattle’s Super Bowl XL team still on the roster.
“Whoever thought I’d still be one of the two here from that Super Bowl team after everything I’ve been through,” he said prior to the start of last season. “I take it as a blessing.”
Hill was arrested for marijuana possession in February, just before the start of free agency. It was his third arrest in as many years, and at the time it seemed like his tenure in Seattle might finally come to an end. However, the charges were quickly dropped, and after exploring his options in free agency, Hill ended up back with the only team he has known since coming into the league as a third-round draft pick in 2005.
Hill gives the Seahawks a veteran presence at linebacker, but he won’t be a lock to keep his starting position. If healthy, Malcolm Smith, a seventh-round pick in 2011, could compete for the starting job at weakside linebacker, and Seattle figures to look in this year’s the draft for more talent at linebacker.
McCoy appeared in just four games last season before landing on injured reserve with a knee injury. The timing of the injury was unfortunate for McCoy, who was not only a key contributor on special teams, but had carved out a role for himself on defense in Seattle’s nickel package. In 2010, McCoy appeared in 14 games and led the Seahawks with 19 special teams tackles.
Herald Writer John Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org