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Ravens assign $1.542 million restricted tender to safety Will Hill, source says

Ravens safety Will Hill runs on the field before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field.
Ravens safety Will Hill runs on the field before a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. (Jason Bridge / USA Today Sports)

The Ravens have assigned a $1.542 million right-of-first-refusal original round tender for restricted free agent safety Will Hill, according to a league source.

The Ravens have the right to match any offer sheet for Hill. If they didn't match, they wouldn't receive any draft pick compensation for the former undrafted free agent from Florida.

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Hill emerged as the Ravens' starting free safety after serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy for a positive drug test for marijuana. After his NFL punishment, Hill revitalized his career.

Hill had his moments as he started eight regular-season games and two playoff games for the Ravens during the 2014 season. He had 39 tackles in the regular season, and returned an interception for a touchdown against the New Orleans Saints while shadowing tight end Jimmy Graham.

Since the end of the season, New Jersey law enforcement officials in Hudson County disclosed they have an arrest warrant issued in March 2014 for Hill, who police say failed to pay $16,588.18 in back child support to his baby's mother.

Hill has a history of off-the-field problems, including an arrest when he was playing for the New York Giants in December 2013 in New Jersey for failure to pay child support. This latest child support issue involves the same woman. Although Hill isn't being actively sought by police, he would be subject to arrest if he has any interaction with authorities.

Signed by the Ravens in late July to a one-year, $570,000 contract, Hill served his suspension without pay after his agents and the NFL Players Association unsuccessfully lobbied the league to shorten his punishment under a revised league drug policy. The latest suspension cost Hill $201,176 in game checks.

Hill has been suspended for a total of 14 games in three NFL seasons, including two four-game suspensions triggered by positive tests for Adderall and marijuana. The suspensions cost him a total of $405,882 and created an impression of unreliability.

Hill was arrested in 2011 in Florida for driving with a suspended license, was arrested in 2013 for nonpayment of child support, went through a divorce and has fathered four children with three women.

Teammates and coaches have praised Hill for how he fit in with others in the Ravens' locker room. With the exception of the child support issue that predated his employment with the Ravens, Hill hasn't gotten into trouble.

"Will Hill, he has a lot of talent," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said during a season-ending news conference. "It's something that we always knew. He also has a great love for the game. He learned our defense throughout the course of the season, which it's not easy to do that. We have a tough defense. We do a lot of good stuff back there. But he was running the show pretty well back there toward the end of the year."

For his career, the 6-foot-1, 207-pound former blue-chip recruit from St. Peter's Prep in Jersey City, N.J., has 132 tackles, three interceptions, two touchdowns, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

"Having the offseason, having the OTAs and the minicamp and the training camp is only going to really help him tremendously, as far as being a really good safety for us," Harbaugh said. "And I'll say this: We put it on his plate a little bit. We're challenging him for the next three or four months. 'Are you going to come back a better player than you were when you left here in January, and is that slate going to be clean?'

"We fully expect it to be. He just had a baby. He's doing great with his family, and we fully expect him to do a great job with that, and we're going to try to help him anyway we can with that."

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