Safety Will Hill: No Doubt I'm Ready To Play


Defensive Coordinator Dean Pees didn't hide his excitement about safety Will Hill when the Ravens signed him during training camp.

After a few days of seeing Hill on the practice field, Pees was eager to see how Hill could help the defense this season.

"[I wish] he was eligible for the first game," Pees said in August. "I'll tell you what: That guy is really a good, good football player."

Now Hill is eligible.

He returned to the practice field this week after serving a six-game suspension, and the Ravens have a one-week roster exemption where he can practice without counting against the 53-man squad. The Ravens could promote him to the active roster this week, making him available for Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Hill said he is "definitely" ready to suit up.

"Not a doubt in my mind," Hill said. "I know how hard I've worked and how prepared I am right now. I've been preparing this whole time, so there's no doubt in my mind."

Hill hasn't been allowed to practice during his suspension, but he has participated in the team meetings and worked out at the Under Armour Performance Center.

The Ravens want to make sure he is back in football condition before rushing him onto the field, but Hill stressed that he's in great shape.

"I worked out every day," he said. "The only thing that's going through my mind is showing the team that I've been working when I haven't been able to work with them. I want to show them that I know all the plays, that I stayed in shape and that I'm capable of being part of this defense."

Getting the 24-year-old safety in the lineup would give the Ravens a dynamic playmaker on the back end of their defense. He was one of the NFL's best safeties last season with the New York Giants, finishing with 77 tackles, two passes defensed, two interceptions, a touchdown and two forced fumbles.

"Any time you get a phenomenal talent like Will Hill on your team, he definitely can help your defense," outside linebacker Terrell Suggs said. "We get another big safety back into the lineup. Everybody knows how we like our safeties around here, so it's going to be pretty good to actually get him out there in the Ravens black and see what he can do."

Fellow safety Matt Elam, who also played with Hill at Florida, said that Hill can give the secondary a boost.

"He was one of the best free safeties in the league last year. That's just great for us." Elam said. "It makes us a lot better, bringing in that extra fresh body and those extra fresh legs as somebody who can make plays. That should be great."

Hill's immediate impact depends on how the Ravens use him.

Baltimore started the season with Elam as the strong safety and Darian Stewart as the free safety, with both of them playing nearly every defensive snap. But the approach changed recently, and now the Ravens are using five safeties in their defensive rotation.

Hill could join the safety rotation, and try to play his way into more reps.

However he ends up fitting into the lineup, Hill stressed he's eager to capitalize after the Ravens gave him another chance to play.

"I know that I've had many chances before, but just with a different team, and now I can show this team who I am and what I'm capable of," he said.

"It's going to be high intensity. It's going to feel like it's my first game ever."

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