CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Have you noticed a common theme among all of these guys joining the Browns?
John Johnson. Takk McKinley. Anthony Walker. Malik Jackson.
They’re coming to Cleveland because they want to win.
The same goes for Troy Hill, the former Rams cornerback who grew up in Youngstown and sees a far different team than the one he remembers watching as a kid.
“Where they’re at right now, and where I used to see them at when I was living in Ohio and watching them on those Sundays, just being able to see like, ‘oh yeah, this program’s turning around’, well, what other place would I want to be rather than home when they go win that Super Bowl?”, Hill said during a zoom meeting on Monday.
Now, as we all know, it’s easy to throw the term “Super Bowl” around in March, but ... here in Cleveland, for the first time in a very long time, it’s not outrageous.
“I see there is no ceiling on what we can be,” Hill says. “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.”
Hill says he didn’t start putting in ‘the work’ in his own life until he left Ohio and headed west while in high school.
“I was 15 when I moved to California,” Hill said. “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.”
But, he still has love and respect for his hometown, a tough town that could certainly use some help from one of it’s own.
“I really wanted to open up a school out there – maybe like an all-boy or all-girl [school],” Hill says. “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.”
Hill still has family and friends in Youngstown, a city that, because of it’s proximity to two NFL cities, has long been divided by loyalties.
Maybe those who are Steelers fans can finally take a backseat to those who are Browns fans.