THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – During his first stint with the Rams, cornerback Troy Hill offered both versatility and playmaking abilities, among other traits.
His exact role in his second stint is to be determined, but that's perfectly fine with him.
"(Me and defensive coordinator Raheem Morris) had a small conversation and things like that," Hill said during his introductory video conference Monday. "But for me, whatever my role is, I'm ready to come out there and perform, and give what I know and be the best me I can be."
If "distance makes the heart grow fonder" was Rams head coach Sean McVay's takeaway, as he said Saturday, when it came to appreciating what Hill brought while he was gone, Hill's was that the "it's never always the grass is greener" on the other side.
Hill's lone season with the Browns included 49 total tackles, one pass breakup and two sacks while starting in four of the 12 games he played in. The Browns went 8-9 and missed the playoffs, while the Rams went on to win Super Bowl LVI.
"It was cool, just being able to see everybody go out there and enjoy that moment that they got," Hill said. "I was happy for them, just knowing all the working they put in, that they was able to accomplish that goal. It was a little tough on the other end, too, because it's always that 'Coulda, woulda, shoulda,' type of thing. Like I said, I was excited for them though."
The Youngstown, Ohio native did appreciate being able to spend more time around family, and learning a lot about "what it takes to be a winner."
When asked about McVay's distance quote, Hill said that would be an accurate one to describe his experience.
"I definitely did (feel the same way about the Rams)," Hill said. "Even when I was in Cleveland, I always found myself trying to compare things to how it was done over here in L.A. I don't know if it was me moreso just trying to compare it as far as like, this is what a winning program do, or if I was just missing everything that was happening over here."
Hill said it was "bittersweet" leaving the Browns given he had only been there for a year, but it's a plus that he's returning to a team with several familiar faces and that he knows what to expect.
"I was excited about being able to come back here and get some of this sunshine," he said.
One of the biggest draws in re-acquiring Hill, according to McVay, was his performance in 2020 – the first year they ran their current defensive system. They also like his ability to play both inside at Star – their hybrid nickel defensive back position – as well as on the outside.
"I gotta give it to God first. God put his hand on me," said Hill, who had three interceptions, 10 pass breakups and 77 total tackles – all career-bests – that year. "And then after that, we just put the work in. When you have players (we had) in our secondary, everybody was capable of making plays, you don't want to be the weak link. So that's kind of where my mindset was at. I always felt like once the ball was in my hand, I could do something with it, too. So that was kind of a tribute to that, too."
Before, Hill was comparing his experience in Cleveland to his experience in Los Angeles. Now, he'll get experience what L.A. is like again – and with plenty of motivation.
"To be honest, the whole fact of me getting traded – I was already motivated from last season, but just me getting traded, especially for a fifth-round pick, I feel some type of way, I feel disrespected," Hill said. "I'm definitely motivated being able to come out and show what I can do and prove people wrong. I'm definitely coming out and playing with a chip on my shoulder, for sure."
Take a look through photos from cornerback Troy Hill's time with the Los Angeles Rams as we welcome him back to the team. The Rams traded a 2023 fifth-round pick to the Browns in exchange for the cornerback.