Tag:Leroy Hill
Posted on: February 29, 2012 12:33 pm
Edited on: February 29, 2012 2:28 pm

2012 NFL Free Agency: Linebacker Rankings

Fletcher, at 37, might not have many options other than returning to Washington. (US Presswire)
By Josh Katzowitz

Leading up to the start of free agency on March 13, we're compiling the best 2012 NFL free agents by position. These are the linebackers.

While there are a ton of free agent linebackers about to come on the market -- I’ve counted approximately 80 -- there doesn’t seem to be many surefire game-changers in the bunch. London Fletcher, vastly underrated in Washington, is one such player, but other than him, you’ve mostly got solid guys who can be contributors to whichever team signs them.

Some of the better free agent linebackers have been taken off the board already, as D’Qwell Jackson has re-signed with Cleveland while Ahmad Brooks agreed to return to San Francisco. Here are the rest of those who probably will try out their fortunes on the market.

1a. Mario Williams

Breakdown: Though we have Williams as the No. 1 defensive end available, we have to give him some love on the linebacker list, as well. Simply because in Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme, Williams was an outside linebacker. He only played five games for the Texans last year before tearing his pectoral muscle, but with five sacks, he also proved he can be successful in a 3-4 defense, meaning every team in the league should be thinking about Williams' worth. We thought he might struggle to find his balance in the first year of Phillips' scheme, but, as a linebacker, Williams is pretty damn good also.

Possible Landing Spots: Texans, Jaguars, Seahawks, Titans

1b. London Fletcher

Breakdown: Fletcher is one of those players who, unless you’re paying close attention, somehow seems to rack up the tackle numbers -- and you’re not really sure how. And before you know it, he’s leading the league with 166 takedowns, like last year.  In fact, Fletcher has recorded at least 116 tackles every year since 2001, and he’s started 224-straight games. The problem with Fletcher is that he’s 37, and you have to wonder how long his durability will hold up -- as well as his penchant for making scores of tackles every season. That shouldn’t matter, however, because it sounds like he wants to return to Washington and that the Redskins feel the same way. “We want our captain back,” Redskins general manager Bruce Allen said earlier this month. The feeling apparently is mutual.

Potential Landing Spots: Redskins

Tulloch might be a good fit in Philadelphia because he knows how to play in the wide nine. (US Presswire)

2. Stephen Tulloch

Breakdown: After a solid 2008-10 with the Titans (the dude had 160 tackles in 2010), Tennessee let the Lions take away Stephen Tulloch for 2011. After recording 111 tackles, two interceptions and five passes defended last year, Detroit would like to keep him. It’ll likely cost the Lions much more than the one-year, $3.25 million deal they paid Tulloch last year. More importantly for the Lions, though, is locking up defensive end Cliff Avril, and you have to wonder if the Lions will want to shell out that much money to two defensive players. One good option for Tulloch might be the Eagles. Considering Tulloch played for years with Jim Washburn, who installed the wide nine scheme in Philadelphia last year, Tulloch would be comfortable in that system. Besides, the Eagles linebackers last year were pretty horrible, and Tulloch would be a big upgrade. Wherever he lands, one can only hope that Tulloch gets another chance to Tebow in front of Tebow.

Possible Landing Spots: Lions, Buccaneers, Eagles

3. Anthony Spencer

Breakdown: He’s pretty much the definition of one of those solid linebackers I wrote about before, and the Cowboys don’t fancy losing him to free agency. There has been speculation that the team could place the franchise tag on him, but if not, at least one Dallas reporter has speculated that Spencer could land a Chris Canty-like deal (a six-year, $42 million contract signed in 2009). The Cowboys might be averse to giving him such a long deal, because he hasn’t necessarily lived up to his first-round draft pick expectations. Spencer’s representatives and the Cowboys were scheduled to meet at the scouting combine, and if they can’t come to a long-term agreement, Dallas might just have to grit its teeth and tag him.

Possible Landing Spots:Cowboys, Dolphins

4. Curtis Lofton

Breakdown: For the past three years, Lofton has been a tackling machine, accumulating at least 118 (including 147 in 2011), and it’s clear the Falcons want to re-sign him. But when Atlanta general manager Thomas Dimitroff says that negotiations between the team and Lofton are “amicable,” it strikes kind of a weird tone (or is that just me?). And maybe the Falcons won’t be terrified if Lofton leaves. As the Atlanta Journal Constitution wrote last week, “There’s growing sentiment that he’s a liability against the pass. The question thus becomes: Would you pay $8 million a year for a two-down linebacker?” Lofton might want more than that. Reportedly, Lofton is asking or a four-year deal worth $36 million.

Possible Landing Spots: Falcons, Eagles, Browns

5. David Hawthorne

Breakdown: With Hawthorne, you pretty much know what you’re getting. He’s good for about 110 tackles a season, five passes defended or so, and an interception or three. But it sounds like the Seahawks have a higher priority to sign running back Marshawn Lynch and defensive end Red Bryant than inking Hawthorne to a new deal. Hawthorne is only 26 years old, and he’s solid across the board. But maybe more than most of the other linebackers on the list, there’s not a great chance for him to return to his old team. The one caveat to that: now that Leroy Hill is facing another drug charge, that might open up Seattle’s interest in Hawthorne again.

Possible Landing Spots: Bears, Cowboys, Seahawks

6. Jarret Johnson

Breakdown: The Ravens, at some point soon, might have to make a choice between whether they want Johnson or Jameel McClain (see below) to return to Baltimore for 2012. General manager Ozzie Newsome had said he wants to keep both, but that will be tough for the club to accomplish. So, if you’re Newsome, who is the priority between Johnson and McClain? Well, McClain had more tackles (84-56) last season  but less sacks (Johnson had 2.5 to McClain’s 1), and the Baltimore Sun predicts the Ravens have a better chance of retaining Johnson. He is, though, four years older, which might mean Baltimore will actually go harder after McClain. “I’d like to fit in again here,” Johnson said last month, via the team’s official website. “But unfortunately this is a business and sometimes business decisions [have] got to be made. I hope to be back. I’d love to retire a Raven, but we’ll see.”

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts

7. Jameel McClain

Breakdown: At 26, McClain is a young talent who likely will command a large salary (moreso than Jarret Johnson (see above)). It doesn’t sound like there’s a great chance for the Ravens to keep him.

Possible Landing Spots: Ravens, Colts, Eagles

8. Honorable Mentions

Unrestricted: Barrett Ruud, Chase Blackburn, Clark Haggans, Joey Porter, Andra Davis, Manny Lawson, Geno Hayes, Wesley Woodyard, Dan Connor

Restricted: Dannell Ellerbe, Aaron Maybin

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Posted on: February 27, 2012 5:46 pm
Edited on: February 27, 2012 5:59 pm

LB Leroy Hill arrested for marijuana possession

It's Hill's third arrest in three years. (Getty Images)
By Ryan Wilson

It's been a busy news day for drug arrests. Jaguars defensive tackle Nate Collins was charged with marijuana possession in Virginia, and free-agent linebacker Leroy Hill was arrested on similar charges in Atlanta, the Atlanta police department confirmed to CBSSports.com Rapid Reporter Curtis Crabtree.

The Tacoma News Tribune first reported the news.

Hill, who spent seven years with the Seahawks, was arrested along with his girlfriend after officers received a complaint of the strong smell of marijuana coming from the 17th floor of an apartment unit. Per the police report, officers obtained a search warrant after confirming the odor. After entering the premises, partially smoked "blunts" were in plain view.

Crabtree notes that "Hill was arrested in 2009 on marijuana charges after falling asleep at the wheel at an intersection in the Atlanta area."

And the News Tribune's Eric Williams writes that Hill has now been arrested three times in the last three years. Including the two incidents above, he was charged with fourth-degree assault/domestic violence in April 2010 for an incident involving his live-in girlfriend at the time.

The previous two arrests resulted in probation for misdemeanor drug possession and a settlement that led to the dismissal of the domestic-assault charges.

As for the latest run-in with authorities, Hill might not be so fortunate. He was suspended for the first game of the 2010 season for violating the league's personal-conduct policy. Now he could face a four-game ban for violating the substance-abuse policy.

"That’s not good news for Hill, a soon-to-be free agent coming off his best season in five years," Williams points out. "For the first time in his seven years in the league Hill, 29, played a full 16 games, finishing fourth on the team in tackles with 89, and second on the team with four sacks."

If they weren't already (they almost certainly were), Seattle's scouts, coaches and front-office types can add "linebacker" to the to-do list at the NFL combine.

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Posted on: November 9, 2011 10:50 pm

Keep an Eye on: Week 10's finer analysis

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit

Jets vs. Patriots

The recipe for stopping New England’s offense has been discovered: press-man coverage. The Cowboys pressed the Patriots receivers off-and-on back in Week 6. The Steelers did it all game in Week 8. So did the Giants in Week 9. New England scored 16, 17 and 20 in those three games.

Think the Jets might be ale to execute press-man coverage? (Ask the Bills receivers whose white uniforms had practically turned light green by the end of last week’s game.) When these teams met back in Week 5, Darrelle Revis shadowed Wes Welker, though not the entire game. Welker caught a few balls during the breathers away from Revis, including a 73-yarder that gave him a misleading five-catch, 124-yard stat line.

After that game teams may have realized that with Welker bottled up, the Patriots are just another methodical east-west passing team. New England’s offense has no downfield weapon to preoccupy defenses about getting burned over the top. Deion Branch is quick but not fast. Aaron Hernandez, if he regains his pre-Week 3 knee injury form, is fleet for a tight end but not someone who can blaze 40 yards outside the numbers. Ditto for Rob Gronkowski.

There is that Chad Ochocinco guy. He and Brady have not been on the same page all season (Brady actually missed an open Ocho for a would-be touchdown last week; Ocho couldn’t get mad because he owed Brady for other mistakes). The disappointing but charismatic ex-Bengal may actually be the deciding piece in this game. Someone has to step up and be a downfield threat. The last person aslow underneath offense wants to face is Rex Ryan; he knows how to use his safeties as blitzers.

Cowboys vs. Bills
The Cowboys can forget about the fragile Felix Jones becoming their next franchise running back. When Jones returns from his ankle injury (hopefully sometime before his next scheduled injury in December), he’ll be backing up DeMarco Murray. The third-round rookie from Oklahoma State is averaging 6.7 yards per carry and looks like the real deal. It was difficult to assess him after his 253-yard outbreak against St. Louis because, as Murray himself will admit, a truck could have driven through the holes Dallas’ offensive line opened up that game.

But last week Murray registered 139 yards against a quietly impressive Seattle run defense that’s allowing just 3.4 yards per carry (tied for second best in the NFL). He has a unique ability to generate downhill momentum immediately upon hitting his accelerator.

Because of this, Murray can explode to holes before linebackers can identify them or, more often, he can increase his tempo upon reaching those linebackers, which makes him extremely hard to tackle.

For the Bills (and all defenses), the key to stopping Murray will be penetration. Murray has the ability to go left and right, but he has to stop and restart in order to do so. You can’t let him go north and south.

It hurts that Buffalo’s best defensive lineman, Kyle Williams, just went on injured reserve. He was a penetration extraordinaire who would have changed the complexion of this matchup. Marcell Dareus has been impressive since relocating to nose tackle, but the Bills are now thin on the edges and may start waffling again between 3-4 and 4-3 concepts if forced to make another personnel adjustment.

Seahawks vs. Ravens
It’s a classic trap game for the Ravens. Coming off a big primetime win against their archrival, they must fly across the country for an unceremonious bout with a 2-6 team from another conference. And it’s not an awful 2-6 team, either. OK, maybe the offense is awful. Or at least as uninspiring as an Andy Reid press conference. But the defense isn’t bad.

Last week’s stumble at Dallas aside, Seattle’s defense can stop the run. The defensive line has a strong rotation of high-energy players who have the strength to win in a phone booth (end Red Bryant has been the most impressive in this sense). Middle linebacker David Hawthorne reads and pursues well enough, and outside linebackers K.J. Wright and Leroy Hill can both play with physicality on the edge.

On the back end, young safeties Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are still learning to play with consistency (both mentally and physically). Both, however, offer some playmaking prowess versus in the box or downhill. Cornerback Brandon Browner is a bit stiff but has rare 6’3”, 221-pound-size that he’s just starting to learn to apply at the line of scrimmage. Richard Sherman has, for the most part, been able to back up his bizarre cockiness ever since injuries propelled him into the starting lineup.

Lastly, Seattle has a clear-cut Pro Bowler (their only Pro Bowler, in fact) in end Chris Clemons. He’s fast off the edge (like any quality pass-rusher) and also has a strong suppleness that makes him viable in all facets against the run.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 10 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: October 2, 2010 7:09 pm

Leroy Hill is done for the year

L. Hill was placed on IR, ending what has been a rocky season and offseason. Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It will end up being quite a lost season for Seattle LB Leroy Hill.

The Seahawks placed him on IR Friday for an Achilles injury, and you have to wonder if his time in Seattle might be finished (actually, I’m kind of surprised it continued after his hellacious offseason).

It’s unfortunate for Hill, because he has talent and could have made an impact for the Seahawks this season – even if David Hawthorne had usurped him as the starter at OLB. But he doesn’t make it real easy to root for him either, and how much value does he have if he’s only a backup making quite a bit of money?

And honestly the Seahawks probably don’t need the distraction of keeping him around.

Just to recap – because this might be the last time we mention Hill’s name for a while – here’s what he’s been up to lately:

-In April, he was charged with fourth-degree domestic violence in Issaquah, Wash. When police investigated, his live-in girlfriend apparently showed signs of injury, but she declined to cooperate with authorities. Hill avoided trial by entering into stipulated-order of continuance, meaning that, in order to be cleared, he has to live under the court's guidelines for 18 months.

-Also in April, he pleaded guilty to a marijuana charge in Georgia.

-The Seahawks asked him to stay away from the team headquarters during spring workouts.

-He sprained his knee in August and missed much of the preseason.

-He took a paycut to stay with the team (from $6 million to $2.125 million).

-He was suspended for the first game of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy.

-He watched that game from the stadium, which violated the terms of his one-game suspension.

-In his first action of the series in Week 2, he suffered a season-ending Achilles injury.

Not that we should be feeling sorry for Hill, because we most certainly shouldn’t. But man, that’s a tough offseason, eh?

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Posted on: September 26, 2010 1:04 pm

Leroy Hill could get another suspension

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

We might not be seeing Seahawks LB Leroy Hill for a little while longer. Already, he’d been suspended for the season opener – which he watched from the stadium, which, as we all knowo now, violates the suspension – but because of an offseason arrest for domestic violence, league sources tell ESPN’s Adam Schefter he might have to miss another two or three games.

Hill met with NFL officials late this week in New York, and Schefter writes he could get his decision next week.

Oh yeah, and Hill has an Achilles injury. Heck of a season so far for him.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: September 23, 2010 10:32 am
Edited on: September 23, 2010 11:44 am

Hot Routes 9.23.10 sober but still volatile

Posted by Andy Benoit

Got a link for the Hot Routes? Hit us up on Twitter ( @CBSSportsNFL )

The Patriots extended their naming-rights deal with Gillette to 2031. This likely means another 20 years of seeing those razors painted near mid-field in New England.M. Singletary (US Presswire)

Anyone who saw Mike Singletary’s testy interview with KPIX’s Dennis O’Donnell last week will be disappointed to know that the 49ers and KPIX have jointly agreed to replace O’Donnell with Kim Coyle.

Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill is out with a right leg injury that was originally called a calf problem but, according to Pete Carroll, is closer to the Achilles. (This likely means it is an Achilles injury since there isn’t anything particularly close to the Achilles, except, of course, the calf.) Call this karmic justice – Hill probably should have been suspended for more than just Week 1 anyway.

Very few teams are scrutinized enough to have stories written about their kickers struggling in practice. Unfortunately for David Buehler (Buehler?...Buehler?....Buehler?), the Cowboys are one of those teams.

Besides acting like a punk about his DWI arrest and saying he doesn’t understand why it’s a black eye for the organization, there’s another reason to find Braylon Edwards’ behavior this week reproachable and inexcusable: Two years ago, Edwards was one of the men drinking earlier in the night with Donte Stallworth hours before Stallworth drove home and hit and killed Mario Reyes.

Derrick Mason is not speaking to the media for the rest of the season. This is big news for Baltimore journalists because Mason is one of the better interviews in the league. Mike Preston of the Baltimore Sun is holding out hope that the veteran wideout will still blow a fuse sometime in November, though.

More Ravens news, linebacker Tavares Gooden is out at least a couple of weeks with a shoulder injury.

Beanie Wells told reporters he will definitely play Sunday. Sounds like someone saw Tim Hightower’s 80-yard touchdown run last week.

The Panthers are having a little trouble finding a quality No. 2 receiver. Fortunately, not having a No 2 receiver is not a big deal when you don’t even have a No. 1 quarterback.

Safety Kareem Moore is finally back for the Redskins. Left tackle Trent Williams did not practice Wednesday due to a sprained knee, but he’s expected to play Sunday. (We can assume that, even while sitting out, Williams still had a better practice than replacement Stephon Heyer.)

Chris Johnson responded to Hines Ward’s assertion that he “gave up” after being hit so many times by the Steelers last Sunday.

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Posted on: September 16, 2010 6:57 pm
Edited on: September 16, 2010 8:01 pm

Talib apparently violated his suspension

Talib Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Buccaneers CB Aqib Talib, who was suspended from last week’s game for violating the league’s personal conduct penalty, apparently erred by sitting in a private suite at Raymond James Stadium and watching his teammates beat Cleveland.

As the St. Petersburg Times points out, Talib wasn’t allowed to view the game as a spectator at the stadium.

"Suspended players cannot attend games, even as a spectator,'' Greg Aiello, the NFL's director of communications, told the paper. "We are looking into it.''

Talib denied being in the stadium when questioned by the Times.

From the article:

When asked on Wednesday by the Times where he watched Sunday's game, Talib said he watched it on television at home. But the Bucs-Browns game was subject to the NFL's blackout rule within a 75-mile radius of the Tampa Bay region because it wasn't a sellout.

"I watched the game from the TV at the house, man,'' Talib said Wednesday.

When asked to clarify after practice Wednesday, Talib indicated he watched the game from his family's home near in (sic) Dallas.

Talib could face an additional fine from the league -- at the very least -- for violating the terms of his suspension by attending Sunday's game. The Bucs also could face sanctions. Team officials said they were unaware that Talib attended Sunday's game.

If Talib really had his thoughts together, he could have brought out the old "Oh-I-just-watched-it-on-my-com
ox-back-to-my-folks'-place-in-Dallas." Then, nobody would have been the wiser.

Except for the people who saw him in the suite.

UPDATE (7:56 p.m.): Although it's buried in a Tacoma News-Tribune story, Pro Football Talk sniffed out this factoid: Leroy Hill, who also was suspended from the Seahawks opener, attended Seattle's game in person.

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Posted on: August 31, 2010 1:23 pm

Leroy Hill takes a monster paycut

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

It’s unclear what LB Leroy Hill’s role will be with the Seahawks this year.

After all, the team asked him to stay away from team headquarters this offseason while he faced a domestic violence charge and David Hawthorne, Hill’s replacement, has been commended by the coaching staff.

But there’s no question that Hill will be cheaper for Seattle this season.

As reported by ESPN.com’s Mike Sando , Hill has agreed to a reduced salary of $2.125 million (down from $6 million).

You’re probably asking yourself: Wait, didn’t Hill have a guaranteed deal?

Sando’s answer:

Hill's salary had been guaranteed, but off-field troubles can raise questions about a team's obligations, as when a judge ordered former receiver Charles Rogers to repay $6.1 million in bonus money to the Detroit Lions. …

Hill's new deal lets him earn back $300,000 in incentives. He also gets a $60,000 roster bonus.

In May 2009, Hill had signed a six-year, $36 million contract featuring a $2 million bonus and base salaries of $5 million and $6 million in the first two years.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com