CB Troy Hill (3.29.21)

On reuniting with S John Johnson III:

“It is going to be exciting to be out there and be reunited. I know what he is going to bring to the table, and he knows what I bringing to the table. It is exciting. It is going to be epic out there in Cleveland. We are looking forward to it.”

 

On if Johnson recruited him at all to the Browns after signing with the team:

“No, he did not even know. I was just telling somebody else it was funny because a couple of days before the signing, I hit him and was like, ‘Hey, where are you thinking about going?’ He was not giving me any disclosure. I was like, ‘Dang, you are acting like I am the media (laughter). You are acting like I am media – you do not want to give it out (laughter).’ When I saw he signed with Cleveland, it was like, ‘OK, you are going back to the home state. That is a good look for them, and I am happy for you.’ When I got that opportunity, that deal came and my agent told me, I texted JJ, ‘I think I am about to come to Cleveland.’ He sent me the little emojis like this [gestures come here] so that kind of made everything easy for me.”

 

On growing up in Youngstown, Ohio and now playing for the Browns:

“It definitely feels like a homecoming. All of my friends and family – well, not all my friends – but all of my family is still out there. A lot of my blood relatives are still out in Ohio in Youngstown or Columbus. Just being able to come back home and give them an opportunity to make more games, even though that is going to hurt my pockets with all them tickets (laughter). It is an exciting process for me, and I am enjoying it. Just growing up, knowing what Ohio football is, how much they cherish Ohio football, the fanbase in Cleveland and everything that comes along with it, I am excited to be out here. It kind of reminds me of being a kid again and playing ball as a kid. It is going to be a fun one. It is going to be fun.”

 

On if he grew up as a Browns fan:

“It is funny, I actually grew up as a Broncos fan because when I was little, Cleveland was not around at the time when I was young and then they came back a little late. The majority of my family were Browns and Pittsburgh fans so I am trying to bring them all together so we are going to see.”

 

On growing up in Youngstown and then moving to California at 15 years old:

“It was a little tough. A low-income city so not really a lot of money being generated around there, and the ones that do have money, it really is the right type. Like I said, it was tough. It is easy to become a product of your environment. At the same time, they all get through the adversity and it built a foundation for me to be tough and to be able handle different things. I have nothing but respect for the city, and I love being from there because like I say, it gave me a foundation and a mindset to where I know I came from this, I know I can make it anywhere. That is kind of the type of mindset that it gave me. I was 15 when I moved to California. When you are 15, you really do not understand everything that is going on through your mind. My whole thing coming out there when I moved to California, my mindset was just go graduate; football was not really my thing, even though I knew I was good at. I ended up failing my freshman year when I was in Ohio because I just wasn’t really going to school and I was kind of on that same route the second year I was there. I probably would have dropped out or something if I was still in Ohio. When I went to California and I was just surround by a bunch of different people and a different mindset, things like that opened my eyes to a bigger picture. I was just telling my homeboy, ‘Ohio gave me a foundation, but California shaped my mind in  a way to become a stronger person.’ In just all the life events that I went through just kind of just shaped me to become stronger. That is where I was at with it.”

 

On transitioning to slot CB last season:

“It was definitely a transition for me because of the routes and things, where I can funnel to my help and stuff like that when I am playing man or whatever. It all changed and things like that. I never really knew how successful I could be. It just was I was up for the challenge type of thing. I challenged myself as a football player. I feel like right now, even though I had a good season, there is still so much room for me to grow at the position. I am still learning that position. I am still fresh at it. I am excited for what Year 2 can bring for me just to keep on going and get a little more technique in there. That is where I feel like I was really lacking at as far as my technique.”

 

On if he expects to play in the slot this season:

“Yeah, for sure.”

 

On what made the LA Rams secondary so good last season:

“I feel like the secondary as a whole. It started with (LA Rams CB) Jalen (Ramsey) and with Jalen just being able to come out there and do his thing, and we all believed in each other. (LA Rams CB) Darious Williams, me, JJ, (Rams S Jordan) Fuller and even the ones who people do not recognize, we all had a belief in each other. It was like anybody can come out there and be capable of having success because of our preparation, stuff like that and the things that we do all throughout the week. Just the work ethic, everything that came with it and the mentality of really to wanting to be the best, that is where it really started. When you all believe in each other and you want to see other people do well, that is what I feel like really changed out secondary and made us what we were because we all took pride in that. When you are like that, nobody wants to be the weak link so you take pride in things like that.”

 

On his familiarity with defensive coordinator Joe Woods and what made the Browns an appealing team to sign with in free agency:

“I knew a little bit. He was (former NFL CB) Aqib (Talib)’s coach in Denver. He would talk about him – nothing bad or anything. I kind of knew about him a little bit from that just listening to the conversations he would have. What made the Browns stand out to me was just the upbringing, where they are right now and where I used to see them at when I was living in Ohio, watching them on Sundays and just being able to see this program is turning it around. What other place would I want to be other than home when they go win that Super Bowl? It is an opportunity for us to go win a Super Bowl. They were missing a few pieces and they were a touchdown away from going to the AFC Championship. It is like, ‘Alright, I see what they have over there. Come on, let me come over there and bring my talents.’ Once I saw JJ come, too, and I saw JJ come at the beginning, there was more – I know what he is going to bring out there in that secondary. I actually hit T Mitch (Texans CB Terrance Mitchell), and he was like, ‘You would love it out there.’ That made the decision a lot easier, too, along with my family and being close to home.”

 

On if he plans on building upon the three TDs he scored last season:

“Yeah, for sure (laughter).”

 

On the impact of playing with Ramsey with the Rams and if Ramsey’s confidence and skill rubbed off on teammates:

“Yeah, for sure. That is just the type of mentality he has. You see somebody who is the best in the league doing it like this, of course. I do not care what anybody says, that is the best the league, and you are going to take things and do things that maybe might emulate in the situation, but you have to tweak it so it is original to you and fits your game. The ability that Jalen has and everything that he brings with his leadership and things like that, yeah, he is one of the best for a reason. He is the best for a reason.”

 

On how LA Rams DT Aaron Donald impacted the team’s defense and now playing with DE Myles Garrett, given how the pass rush can benefit the secondary:

“Exactly, you work hand in hand. That makes our job easier, and we make their job easier, too. If we are locking up back there regardless, that gives them that extra second to get to the quarterback or sometimes it is football and it is not a perfect world so if we mess up or something and they get that sack before the quarterback can find it or put that pressure on him to throw a bad ball or something, that just goes hand in hand. I am excited to get to work with everybody.”

 

On the potential he sees for the Browns defense this season:

“I see there is no ceiling on what we can be. Obviously, on paper it is going to always be good, but you have to come in and put the work in every day. That is what I am excited about is to put the work in and then look up at the end of the season and see what we did and see how good we were. I think that we can be one of the best defenses in the league, if not the best. Like I said, we have to come in, put the work in and show out every Sunday.”

 

On if he knew CB Denzel Ward prior to joining the Browns and if he has had much communication with Ward and teammates since signing with the Browns:

“I did not know him before this. I think he is a lot younger. I have not really reached out to anybody yet. Everything is kind of going crazy now with my family and with the congratulations. I was going to kind of let it settle down before I reached out.”

 

On his three TDs last year and if that will provide momentum for the 2021 season:

“Yeah, definitely. I have to give that to God first, but I definitely feel like I have a lot of momentum. I always feel like if the ball is in my hands, I am a natural scorer since I was playing little league. I am looking forward to this season and being able to repeat or even do better than that. We are just grinding right now. That is kind of where I am right now.”

 

On if he has plans to give back to his hometown community in Youngstown, particularly for schools and students in the area:

“Yeah, that is definitely another plan. I really wanted to open up a school out there – maybe like an all-boy or all-girl [school]. I have not really put it all together, but I wanted to open up a charter school and give back to the community as much as possible. Being close to the city, that is just going to help me out even more so I can really see what is going on since I have been gone for 10-plus years. Now that I am closer to the city, it is like, ‘Bet, now this is my purpose.’ I feel like that is one of the purposes that I came back home to, and I feel like I can do a lot of help out there to bring this community back up.”

 

On if he was inspired to potentially start a school by LeBron James’ efforts with schools in Akron:

“That was big, but I actually had a teammate in LA – his name was (NFL CB) Kayvon Webster – he had opened up a school. That kind of gave me the idea. Just the more I was out here and then when I did see LeBron do it for his city, I felt like that was a purpose for me because going back to the city, there is not really a lot going on. I felt like it needed something and needed a spark. That is why I feel like I am there – a spark in the right direction and a positive direction.”

 

On the type of player and person the Browns are getting with Johnson:

“They are getting a hell of a player. Plays with passion, heart and can do it all – versatile. They are getting a hell of player. In my opinion, that is the best safety out there – I do not care what anybody says – and all of the things he is able to do. I have seen him in adversity and doing things that nobody probably thought he could do. For example, just a little small thing as far as communicating all of the plays with the defense last year and coming out there and playing at a high level. Whatever is thrown at him, he goes out there and he executes. You are getting a hell of a player in John Johnson and a hell of a human being. You are going to be excited to get him.”

 

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