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Ravens' release of safety Will Hill isn't a surprise

Will Hill was going to be the odd-man out with the Ravens as soon as the team signed Eric Weddle. AP Photo/Rick Scuteri

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- The Baltimore Ravens announced the release of Will Hill on Wednesday, and no one should be surprised by the team parting ways with its one-time starting safety.

There were signs that Hill was going to be the odd-man out in Baltimore after the Ravens signed Eric Weddle:

  • Hill was benched from the starting lineup in the last two games in favor of Lardarius Webb

  • He was the 70th-ranked safety by Pro Football Focus over the final nine weeks of the season

  • He represented the biggest salary cap savings ($2.84 million) of all the safeties on the team

Some will argue that the Ravens' best tandem would've been Hill and Weddle. Hill made a couple of game-changing plays in his two seasons, and he was the hardest hitter in the secondary.

But coach John Harbaugh indicated at Weddle's introductory media conference that the team will go with Weddle and Lardarius Webb as their starting safeties. Both would be classified as free safeties, although Harbaugh believes the safety position has become more interchangeable these days. He also feels this combination will keep offenses guessing.

"You can bring both of these guys down and make them blitz and bring it really effectively," Harbaugh said. "I think it's going be really hard ... you're not going to know who is down and who is deep. That can be a big benefit for a defense."

So, Weddle is officially signed and Hill is released a couple hours later. You might think it's the wrong decision. But it's not a shocking one.

UPDATE: Hill was suspended 10 games by the NFL for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter and Adam Caplan. This is the fourth and longest suspension of Hill's four-year career.