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Ravens placing safety Will Hill on active roster with suspension over, sources say

Ravens safety Will Hill.
Ravens safety Will Hill. (Lloyd Fox/Baltimore Sun)

The Ravens placed veteran safety Will Hill on the active roster Saturday in advance of Sunday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Hill has finished serving a six-game suspension for violating the NFL substance-abuse policy and practiced this week under a roster exemption.

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The plan is for Hill to play on a limited basis against the Falcons, including on special teams. He will also take some defensive snaps to get him ready for upcoming games, according to sources.

The Ravens placed defensive tackle Christo Bilukidi on injured reserve with a sprained right ankle, creating a roster spot for Hill.

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"Obviously, we expect him to be a very, very good player back there," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said of Hill this week. "I think he's very smart. He's really kept up on everything. It was great to see him back, and I think he's done a good job here in the few days that we've been back practicing. It'll be interesting to see how he progresses, but we think he's the real deal."

Hill was hoping to return sooner than six games. The NFL Players Association lobbied the NFL to reduce his suspension after the league's revised drug policy increased the threshold for a positive marijuana test.

Hill told The Baltimore Sun that he failed his drug test while he was on the New York Giants' roster due to inhaling second-hand marijuana smoke. Hill's case fell into a grey area of the policy, which didn't cover six-game suspensions.

"Yeah, I was praying on it," Hill said this week. "The team backed me, the union and my agents. Ultimately, it wasn't what the NFL wanted. I had to sit that out. I didn't get my hopes up. If it came, it came. I just took my punishment like a man."

A three-time violator of NFL drug policies — he was previously suspended for taking Adderall, a drug commonly used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — Hill lost his appeal earlier this year and was cut by the Giants.

The Ravens signed him to a one-year, $730,000 contract in July.

Hill is arguably the Ravens' most accomplished safety and could push starting free safety Darian Stewart for playing time. Stewart and strong safety Matt Elam have struggled in pass coverage, though they have provided strong run support.

Hill has good size and range at 6-feet-1, 220 pounds. He had 77 tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles last season for the Giants. In two NFL seasons, Hill has 115 tackles, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.

The Giants gave up on Hill because of the series of NFL drug policy violations.

"Just being irresponsible," Hill said. "Yeah, I feel like I've learned."

Hill says he's prepared to get back on the field and has remained in shape since training camp.

"I'm ready to play definitely 100 percent," Hill said. "Yeah, I'm in the coaches' ear every second I'm on the field. I know everything, but they're just making sure I know everything. I'm in shape, lost a couple of pounds. I've been doing a lot of cardio."

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