Will Hill: Ban was for marijuana

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- New York Giants safety Will Hill says he repeatedly failed drug tests for marijuana, which led to his four-game suspension for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

Hill said he failed "a couple of drug tests" last year and tried appealing but lost. This is the second four-game suspension Hill will serve. He was banned for four games last season for violating the league's performance-enhancing substances policy. Hill attributed that suspension to taking the attention deficit drug Adderall.

A candid Hill said his upbringing in nearby East Orange, N.J., and pressure he felt from family, friends and acquaintances led him to cope by using marijuana.

"It's definitely disappointing," Hill said on Sunday before Giants practice. "By us being professional athletes, you would think people who would have your back would have your back. But coming out and growing up in this environment here, I had a lot of stress from my environments and [marijuana was] the only way I knew how to cope with it until I got with the team and they put me in some clinics and stuff and helped me out."

Hill elaborated on what contributed to the "stress" on him.

"It's from family members, to everyone reaching their hand out thinking I'm an ATM, and people who think you owe them something," he said. "It was just a situation where I was visiting back to my hometown and a guy pulled a shotgun out on me right there in a park for some money. How do you deal with those situations? You really can't, so I just dealt with it the best way I knew how."

Coach Tom Coughlin said he will not discuss how Hill's suspension and latest slip-up impacts his status on the team.

"I'm not going to go into that," Coughlin said. "We were disappointed and hopefully Will is going to get his life straightened out."

Hill, 23, starred at St. Peter's Prep and was one of New Jersey's most acclaimed high school stars in recent decades. After playing three seasons at Florida, Hill went undrafted as teams passed on the talented safety due to character concerns.

He was suspended in 2010 for violating team rules at Florida and a college football website then posted some vulgar tweets linked to his Twitter account referencing sex, prostitutes and drugs. Hill later said his Twitter account was hacked.

The Giants took a chance on Hill last year and he played in 12 games and had 30 tackles, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

But Hill said playing close to home could be challenging at times.

"I've been through so many stressful times growing up the way I grew up, it was second nature, basically," he said. "Growing up, walking down the street, people putting guns in your face and things like that is stressful. You really don't know how to deal with situations like that when you're faced with them."

Hill said the Giants have tried helping him and that he stayed at a clinic in Boston for nearly a month earlier this offseason.

"I don't fight it at all anymore," Hill said. "The Giants helped me out a lot. I wasn't here for the spring practices and stuff. I was in Boston at this clinic and they were giving me help there and I've been going to an outpatient [facility] in Parsippany, [N.J.]."

Hill can participate in practices and preseason games during his suspension but will have to fight for a roster spot. The Giants have Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, Ryan Mundy, fifth-round pick Cooper Taylor and Tyler Sash also playing safety.

"I talked to the team and they just told me to keep on moving forward, keep being positive," Hill said. "Just take the suspension and leave it at that and don't have any more mishaps."

"It's a blessing to be here," he later added. "I learn. I know the rights and wrongs. And the Giants helped me the best way they could to get me help and to help me see other ways to cope with my problems."