In a frank and open discussion Sunday, New York Giants safety Will Hill revealed the four-game suspension announced last week was for marijuana use to alleviate off-field stress last season.
Hill, who was suspended four games for Adderall use last season, said he has not used any banned substances this year and underwent drug rehabilitation this spring in Boston and continues to have outpatient meetings.
Hill grew up in East Orange, N.J., which is near the Giants' headquarters in East Rutherford, N.J., and that proximity to old friends apparently contributed to his problems. He was a strong safety at the University of Florida, but after going undrafted in 2011 and playing one year for a semi-pro team, he was signed by the Giants as a free agent in 2012.
Hill told his story during a post-practice talk with the media, which began with a seemingly benign question -- "What happened?"
"Just going through a lot of stressful times through last season, and I failed a lot of drug tests," he admitted.
He clarified that the stress was not directly related to football, although his status as a money-making pro did impact his interaction with friends, family and others.
"It has nothing to do with football," he said."It was more so family members, people reaching their hand out thinking you're an ATM, and people thinking you owe them something.
"There was a situation where I visited my hometown and a guy pulled a shotgun out on me right in the park for some money. How do you really deal with those situations? You really can't. I just dealt with it the best way I knew how."
Hill also appeared to be open, honest and repentant last year after being suspended for the league's banned PED, Adderall. He said that made this new suspension for last year's failed tests is even more disappointing, apparently because he thought he could work something out with the league. He added that the team helped by finding a clinic for him.
"Yeah, it's definitely disappointing," he said. "We were trying to fight it, basically. The team stepped in and tried to do the best they could so this would not happen, but ultimately the league made the decision.
"I talked to the team and they just told me to keep on moving forward, keep being positive. Just take the suspension and leave it at that and don't have any more mishaps."
Hill will be allowed to participate in training camp and preseason games. His suspension will begin with the regular-season opener and end on Sept. 30.