Following a NCAA career at the University of Florida (including a BCS national championship in 2008-2009) and NFL stints with the New York Giants and Baltimore Ravens, defensive back Will Hill III is in his first year in the Canadian Football League with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. And he’s already drawing headlines north of the border, but not in a good way. During the third quarter of Hamilton’s road game against the Saskatchewan Roughriders Saturday night, Hill grabbed an official by the collar while arguing a call and was ejected:
— Drew Edwards (@scratchingpost) July 9, 2017
That’s one of the more forceful player-official confrontations you’ll see, and it’s no surprise that it got Hill thrown out. Making contact with an official at any point in time is a bad idea; even Chad Johnson’s hug of a CFL official back in 2014 drew backlash. And doing so in this way seems likely to draw a significant fine from the league, or perhaps a suspension. We’ll see what they decide.
Hill’s path to this point hasn’t been a smooth one. While with the Giants (2012-2013), he was suspended for using Adderall without an exemption, then suspended again for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. In December 2013, he was arrested for outstanding child support payments, and another warrant for his arrest over child support payments was issued in March 2014. Hill left the Giants for the Ravens before the 2014 season, but was suspended for another substance abuse policy violation and missed the first six games that year, and they eventually cut him in the 2016 after another failed drug test that would have had him out for 10 games. No other NFL team picked him up after that, leading to him signing in Hamilton ahead of this season.
Hill’s shown a lot of talent at times, and has made some spectacular plays, including a game-winning interception return for a touchdown with the Giants and a blocked field goal return for a touchdown with the Ravens. He’s still just 27, too, so a NFL return isn’t out of the question for him if he does well in the CFL (although that pending drug-policy suspension is a mark against him).
It’s quite possible to overcome incidents like this; one of the opposing players Saturday was Duron Carter, who created his own CFL drama last summer by bumping into an opposing coach on the sidelines (and was suspended for a game as a result), but that’s hardly discussed any more, and Carter’s now making headlines for the right reasons (such as his first touchdown in Rider green). And it’s notable that Hill’s Hamilton head coach (Kent Austin) got into his own confrontation with an official last year, and was suspended from the sidelines for a game for making contact with an official, so he probably understands the emotions at play here a bit.
However, Hill’s going to have to avoid future confrontations like this one if he wants to stay in the CFL, much less try to return to the NFL some day. And he didn’t exactly help his team out here, either. His ejection further weakened the Ticats’ secondary, and they would go on to lose 37-20. We’ll see what punishment comes down for Hill, but he’ll have to stay away from these kind of conflicts in the future.