Ravens looking forward to safety Will Hill's return from suspension next week

The Baltimore Sun

Ravens veteran free safety Will Hill is posting a daily countdown on his Twitter account leading up to next week, when his six-game suspension is over.

Hill has been working out daily at the Ravens' training complex and attending meetings.

The NFL Players Association unsuccessfully haggled with the NFL for a reduction of Hill's suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. Under the revised drug policy, there was a reduction of the threshold for marijuana-testing from 35 ng/ml to 15 ng/ml.

Hill told The Baltimore Sun during training camp that he tested positive because of second-hand marijuana smoke and said he no longer smokes marijuana.

Hill fell into a gray area of the revised drug policy, according to sources with knowledge of the situation, due to his previous three violations of NFL drug policies and the fact that he was saddled with a six-game suspension, which wasn't covered under the drug policy. 

Under the new sanctions for marijuana, a first offense draws a referral, a second offense triggers a fine of two game checks, a third offense draws a four-game fine, a fourth offense carries a four-game suspension, with a fifth offense leading to a 10-game suspension, and a sixth violation meaning the player is banished for the year.

Now, the Ravens await Hill's return and hope to involve the former New York Giants safety with the defense at some point this season. The Ravens can request a roster exemption next week before adding Hill to the active roster, which would involve having to cut a player or placing someone on injured reserve to create a roster spot.

"We're looking forward to getting Will back," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "We're going to have to kind of eyeball him and see how he looks. That's part of the opportunity to have a week to determine how a player looks for a week coming off a suspension.

"He's been in every meeting. He's a very sharp football guy, very determined to make good. I'm looking forward to seeing how he takes advantage of this opportunity. Good player, and I think he can help us."

Signed to a one-year, $570,000 contract in July, Hill was cut by the Giants after an unsuccessful appeal of his NFL punishment.

Talented with long arms and good size at 6 feet 1, 207 pounds, Hill could push starter Darian Stewart for playing time. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees praised Hill during the preseason and said he wished the former Giants starter was eligible to play at the start of the regular season.

Hlll's playing skills haven't been in question -- he recorded seven tackles, two interceptions and two forced fumbles last season -- but his decision-making and compliance with the NFL rulebook on drug use have consistently fallen short. The Giants gave Hill multiple chances before ultimately giving up on him.

"Just being irresponsible," Hill told The Sun during training camp when asked about his problems with drugs. "Yeah, I feel like I've learned. I'm ready to play football. They talked to the Giants and they had nothing but good words to say about me."

When asked if he's done with marijuana, Hill replied: "Everything is behind me. It's a blessing just to play on any team."

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider

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