Leroy Hill might be in trouble for watching game in stadium
Seahawks linebacker Leroy Hill knew he was suspended from playing in the game last Sunday, but didn't know he couldn't even watch the game in person.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Seahawks @ Denver, 1:05 p.m., Ch. 13
RENTON — While serving a one-game suspension, Leroy Hill had two options last Sunday — watch Seattle's regular-season opener against San Francisco on television or watch the game at Qwest Field with thousands of Seahawks fans.
He chose the latter, which could land him and the team in hot water with the NFL.
The league is looking into whether the linebacker violated his suspension by attending Seattle's 31-6 victory as a spectator.
"I didn't know," said Hill, who was suspended for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. "I went to the game, and I thought it was fine. I was up in the stands. I didn't go on the field. I didn't go to the locker room or nothing like that. I went to the game to support my teammates."
NFL rules prohibit suspended players from attending their team's games even if they sit in the stands and avoid contact with teammates and coaches.
In an e-mail to The Associated Press, NFL spokesman Randall Liu said: "We do not expect to conclude the review before next week."
Coach Pete Carroll admitted he was unaware of the rule, but acknowledged the team should have informed Hill he needed to stay away from the stadium.
"The rules say that a guy that's suspended isn't supposed to be at the stadium, and so I didn't know that," Carroll said. "So we found out the hard way."
It's been a tumultuous 1 ½ years for Hill, a former franchise player.
In January 2009, he was arrested on a misdemeanor drug-possession charge in suburban Atlanta and sentenced to 12 months' probation.
Last season, Hill missed five games with a groin injury and finished with a career-low 46 tackles.
In April, he was arrested again on a domestic-violence charge after an altercation with his live-in girlfriend. In a settlement with the Issaquah Municipal Court, he was placed on an 18-month probation and the charges will be dropped if he complies to terms of the deal.
Hill, 28, was ordered by the Seahawks to stay away from the team in the offseason and he could face another suspension from the NFL for the domestic-violence dispute.
His tenure in Seattle appeared unstable until he agreed to a pay cut last month that reduced his contract from $6 million to $2.125 million and erased the remaining years of his previous six-year, $36 million deal. He could earn as much as $3 million this season if he meets incentives.
Hill has been a starter at outside linebacker since midway in his rookie season in 2005, but he sprained his right knee in training camp and appears to have lost his job to David Hawthorne.
"We're bringing him back to play," Carroll said. "We're not bringing him back to sit. We're bringing him back to play and get involved."
Hill is expected to play Sunday at Denver on special teams and as a reserve.
After what he's been through, he's thrilled to be on the field again.
"I'm very happy to be back," he said. "Everything is put behind me. I can focus back on football again and move forward."
• OL Chester Pitts (knee) will not travel to Denver and Tyler Polumbus is expected to start a second game at left tackle. Rookie Russell Okung (ankle) and Pitts are the only players listed as out on Seattle's final injury report.
• LB Matt McCoy (quadriceps) is doubtful. G Mike Gibson (back), DE Chris Clemons (ankle) and WR Mike Williams (thigh) are probable.
Percy Allen: 206-464-2278 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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