Jeremy Hill feels healthy for first time in years after undergoing ankle surgery
Jeremy Hill was a major disappointment with the Cincinnati Bengals after he broke out as a rookie in 2014, and the running back says a lot of that had to do with him not being healthy. Now that he has undergone surgery, Hill has high expectations for himself.
Hill, who signed with the New England Patriots this offseason, told reporters on Tuesday that he had a nagging ankle injury for years before he finally decided to go under the knife in November.
“I just wasn’t myself,” Hill explained, per Mark Daniels of the Providence Journal. “I really didn’t have the flexibility and the strength in it that I needed to be the back that I wanted to be. I’m glad that I got it done and I can get it back to 100 percent and be the back I know I can be.”
As a rookie, Hill averaged a whopping 5.1 yards per carry and rushed for 1,124 yards and nine touchdowns. It looked like the Bengals had found the NFL’s next premier rusher, but it was all downhill from there. Knowing he was entering free agency, Hill chose to undergo season-ending surgery last year. He jumped at the opportunity to sign with the Patriots, who were the only team he visited.
“The coaches told me that I was going to have earn everything that I got here and that’s what I wanted to hear because I feel like a lot of places can say this and say that, but in reality no one really knows,” Hill said. “I’m glad they were upfront and real about that and that’s something I respected about coach (Bill) Belichick and coach (Josh) McDaniels. That’s what kind of drew me to come here.”
Hill will have to compete for playing time and potentially a roster spot with Rex Burkhead, James White, Mike Gillislee and first-round draft pick Sony Michel. Gillislee seemed to fall out of favor last season and was a healthy scratch multiple times, and none of the other backs possess the power style that Hill is capable of bringing. Playing in a great offense with a great quarterback should give him an opportunity to revive his career.