Jeremy Hill did an interview with Andrew Siciliano's ears on NFL Network on Wednesday night, and he handled himself exceptionally well.
The guy is in a difficult spot. He's coming off of two subpar seasons after his stellar rookie season in 2014. He's entering a contract year, playing on a team that already has one established back who's gotten a long-term deal, and his team is openly looking at other, younger backs who may one day cost Jeremy his job.
If there's a Bengal who should be feeling pressure coming into the season, it's Jeremy Hill.
Yet the guy is handling himself well, at least publicly. From NFL.com....
On the reports that the Bengals worked out top tailback prospect and fellow LSU stud Leonard Fournette on Wednesday, Hill told Around The NFL he wouldn't sweat some competition this summer.
"Not at all. That's what the NFL is," Hill said. "I don't think when they drafted me, they said in my contract, they won't draft any more running backs, so I think that's understood, that's part of the business."
Hill added on Up to the Minute Live: "Best available, that's the way the Bengals do it. I would love to play with him. It'd be a great backfield attack with us three and (Giovani Bernard) and I. It'd be amazing. So if I got a chance to play with them, that'd be great.....
....In the final year of his four-year rookie deal, Hill would be right to take the Bengals' forays into the RB draft pool as a sign that his job is in jeopardy. While the starting tailback said he doesn't "feel any pressure" in the first contract year of his career, Hill did acknowledge that to be the player he wants to be -- and secure his place on future Bengals rosters -- he needs to complete his game.
"For me, it's getting that yards per carry higher and yards after contact, just breaking more tackles, and I think everything else will take care of itself," Hill told Around The NFL. "So I know I can get in the end zone, but it's just getting that yards per carry up and more yards after contact."
Everything about what he said is representative of someone who gets it. The part of the interview that made headlines, though, was this...
"If they wanna draft the back high, go ahead and do it. They're probably going to be my backup."
First of all, the way he dropped that quote appeared to be in jest. And if he does feel that way, I'd ask, how's he supposed to feel? That he'll be the guy backing up the rookie? Also, the follow-up question was about whether Hill would be willing to mentor any back the Bengals drafted, and his answer was basically "of course."
Why am I mentioning this? Because once the interview was posted online with Jeremy Hill: If Bengals draft RB, he'll be my backup as the headline, there were corners of the internet that took the headline, didn't seek context, and proceeded to laugh away at Jeremy Hill. Others made Jeremy out to be, how should I put it, quite full of himself.
I don't know if Jeremy Hill will be able to recapture the form from his rookie season. I don't know how the Bengals will deploy the backs they have - one of whom will in all likelihood be a guy they draft in two weeks. I do know that whether it's the added scrutiny that came with his fumble against the Steelers in the 2015 playoffs or the added pressure of trying to come back from another down year, the dude handles himself in situations like this very, very well.