The Seattle Seahawks could be taking the first steps toward cutting ties with linebacker Leroy Hill. The 27-year-old, sixth-year pro missed his second minicamp session since being arrested for an alleged domestic disturbance in April at his Issaquah home. Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll said nothing has changed in terms of Hill’s status with the league.
“The situation hasn’t changed at all,” Carroll said. “As far as I know nothing has taken place yet, so we’re going to continue to let him take care of his business until we know more.”
Carroll went on to say that the team has told Hill to continue and stay away from the facility and handle his personal matters.
“We don’t need the distraction right now, and he needs to focus on getting his business taken care of,” Carroll said.
Hill’s latest incident is his second brush with the law in just over a year, and occurred just 10 days after he received a sentence of 12 months probation for misdemeanor drug possession for a Jan. 24, 2009 incident in which he was found asleep at the wheel by police in suburban Atlanta with marijuana in his car.
The Seahawks could be willing to turn the page on Hill for a several reasons.
First, he likely will face at least a one-game suspension from the league, and also could deal with a possible parole violation for his latest offense.
The team has depth at linebacker, including third-year pro David Hawthorne. Hawthorne, who turns 25 on May 14, played well subbing for injured middle linebacker Lofa Tatupu, starting 11 games and leading the team in tackles with 117, finishing second on the team in sacks with four and along with safety Deon Grant, leading the team in interceptions with three. Hawthorne also forced two fumbles. Hawthorne is currently filling Hill’s position of weak-side, outside linebacker with the first unit.
Also, Hill’s play has been less-than-stellar of late. He’s struggled to stay healthy, missing nine games over the past, two seasons. And Hill only has two sacks over that period.
Finally, the Seahawks could rid themselves of Hill’s unwieldy contract. He signed a six year, $38 million deal heading into the 2009 season. But Hill’s deal provides Seattle with the ability to get from out of the accord after two seasons. And with the absence of the salary cap this year, Seattle could cut Hill without suffering the financial hit on the team’s salary cap.
If Seattle decides to keep Hill at his current base salary of $6 million for 2010, he could lose $352,941 in salary for every game he misses to a suspension.