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Rams Tye Hill: 'I think I've had my share of the down times'


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Rams Tye Hill: 'I think I've had my share of the down times'

Former top pick has endured two rough seasons

BY STEVE KORTE

News-Democrat

If any player on the St. Louis Rams could use a fresh start, it's cornerback and former first-round draft pick Tye Hill.

"I think I've had my share of the down times with the injuries and stuff like that,'' Hill said. "I definitely feel like that's behind me now. I'm ready to move on."

Hill had a promising rookie season after being the Rams' first-round draft choice in 2006, but he played in only 12 games over the past two seasons due to injuries.

Now healthy, Hill wants to prove he was worth that first-round pick.

"I'm looking forward to the future, and I'm looking forward to being that corner that the Rams drafted 15th overall in '06,'' Hill said.

Hill said his motivation goes beyond not wanting to be labeled as a draft bust.

"Of course I want to just because I was a first-round pick, but at the same time, I'm a competitor,'' Hill said. "I'm a football player, and this is all I've been doing all my life. If you don't have that desire to go out and to be what you think you are every Sunday or every day you're out at practice, then you don't need to be playing this game.''

A broken bone in his back caused Hill to miss the final eight games of the 2007 season, and a knee injury kept him on the shelf for the final 12 games of the 2008 season.

Hill was supposed to return in a couple of weeks after undergoing arthroscopic surgery to repair torn cartilage in his knee after Week 4 last season, but the injury lingered until the Rams finally placed him on injured reserve on Dec. 7.

"We didn't know what was going on until it was too late,'' Hill said. "The season was beyond gone by the time we found out what was really wrong with my knee.''

Hill said the real problem was a Baker's cyst in his knee.

"Initially it was a torn meniscus, and initially it's 4-6 six weeks ,'' Hill said. "But, I kept complaining of irritation in the back of my knee, which was not letting me run. Come to find out there was a big cyst back there.''

Hill had the cyst removed from his knee.

"All they really had to do was go in and take a cyst out,'' Hill said. "They just had to use an ultrasound and dig deep in it with a needle. It's nothing you want to go through, though."

Hill said the knee feels 100 percent.

"I'm not where I want to be yet, but I'm definitely almost there,'' Hill said. "I just have to continue to work every day. I think my speed definitely came back, and that's one thing I'm really excited about.''

Hill is currently starting opposite Ron Bartell, although a line of young players has formed to challenge him, including second-year player Justin King, third-year player Jonathan Wade and rookie Bradley Fletcher.

Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo said Hill's pedigree as a former first-round pick gives him no job security.

"I'll be honest with you, I don't get wrapped up in how they get here,'' Spagnuolo said. "He's being looked at and evaluated like any other guy. I watched the one-and-ones every day, and he's done some good things. He's got some talent. He knows it. He just wants to fine tune some things, and hold onto a job.''

Rams free safety Oshiomogho Atgowe said Hill has the right attitude this year.

"Tye has become a real professional in his fourth year,'' Atogwe said. "He's really trying to take care of his body now, and he's focused out there. He's not just out there playing on pure ability. He's learning the game. He's allowing his coaching and his skill to another level that he has yet to reach. I am excited for him because I believe it is going to be a big year for him.''

Link at The Belleville News-Democrat

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"We didn't know what was going on until it was too late,'' Hill said. "The season was beyond gone by the time we found out what was really wrong with my knee.''

Hill said the real problem was a Baker's cyst in his knee.

"Initially it was a torn meniscus, and initially it's 4-6 six weeks ,'' Hill said. "But, I kept complaining of irritation in the back of my knee, which was not letting me run. Come to find out there was a big cyst back there.''

Hill had the cyst removed from his knee.

"All they really had to do was go in and take a cyst out,'' Hill said. "They just had to use an ultrasound and dig deep in it with a needle. It's nothing you want to go through, though."

Hill said the knee feels 100 percent.

This is really good news. Sounds like he is not as broken down as some have assumed.

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